Kahu cherishes day to remember
He scored five tries wearing a jersey he helped design but Brisbane Broncos centre Jordan Kahu said it was the chance to play alongside Benji Marshall that made it a day he will never forget.
Kahu crossed twice in the 18-4 win over the Storm first up and added three more in a 21-8 defeat of the Knights to be level with Gideon Gela-Mosby with five tries after day one of the Downer NRL Auckland Nines but was typically humble about the work he had to do to score them.
The opportunity to play alongside the only rugby league player he knew growing up in Wellington was the greatest thrill for the 26-year-old.
"I remember when I was a union boy growing up and he was one of the only league names I knew," Kahu told NRL.com.
"I watched that grand final with my family and to be playing with him is now is pretty special.
"I'm going to cherish this moment along with the jersey. Wearing this jersey alongside Benji Marshall for the first time is something that I'm going to remember forever."
Kahu's finishing ability is as good as any winger in the game and teammate Darius Boyd admits that versatility could have actually hurt his chances of securing a permanent spot in recent years.
"Being so versatile has probably hampered him in a way because he can play so many positions but hopefully we can get him that left centre spot and see some good things from him," Boyd said.
"I know from personal experience when I was at the Broncs my first time around as good as it is to be able to play a lot of different positions it's hard to cement and play your best."
Boyd copped a knock to the mid-riff that he said was the worst he had ever been winded against the Knights while Marshall is nursing an Achilles tendonitis complaint.
With a quarter-final spot secured Boyd said it will be up to coach Jason Demetriou whether players are rested for the final pool match against the Wests Tigers.
"I'll have to ask the coach but a few guys have got a few niggling injuries so it will depend on how they pull up tomorrow," Boyd said.
Addo-Carr baulks at league's fastest man tag
He brought down 'The Jet' James Roberts centimetres short of the line and then went up the other end and scored his first try in Storm colours but speedster Josh Addo-Carr was not keen to claim the title as league's fastest man on Saturday.
Addo-Carr was electrifying whenever in space but it was his chase of Roberts in the Storm's 18-4 loss to the Broncos in their opening match that showcased the wheels of two of the game's genuine speedsters.
But when pressed as to whether that made him the fastest man in the game, Addo-Carr backed off just as quickly.
"I don't know brother. He's just as quick. He could have been under fatigue," Addo-Carr said.
Signed from the Wests Tigers to replace crowd favourite Marika Koroibete, Addo-Carr can go a long way to winning over the Melbourne supporters if he can take the Storm through to the finals with something special against the Knights in their final pool match on Sunday.
He scored six tries in nine games in his maiden season in the NRL with the Wests Tigers last year and is tidying up all areas of his game in order to earn a place in Craig Bellamy's team for Round 1.
"He just told me to keep training hard and to keep working on your one per centers," Addo-Carr said.
"I just want to cement a spot in first grade and play good football.
"We've been training hard all pre-season and it looks like it's paying off."
Lamb's chance to test mettle under pressure
He has spent the pre-season trying to develop calmness under pressure and Newcastle half Brock Lamb will get the perfect opportunity to see how far he has come when the Knights meet the Storm in their do-or-die final pool match on Sunday.
With the Broncos guaranteed of reaching the quarters the Knights and Storm face off to see who else will progress with the Knights hoping to bounce back after a 21-8 loss to the Broncos in their second match of the day.
Lamb made three appearances in the NRL in Newcastle's year of debutants last season and said the key to success at the elite level is coming up with the right decisions at the right time.
"There were heaps of different experiences but mainly staying calm under pressure," Lamb said of his NRL education in 2016.
"You look at [Johnathan] Thurston and he's always calm under pressure and as a young half I want to learn to be able to be calm under pressure and I think that will help my game.
"That's probably the main thing I've learned through pre-season through the fatigue and the hard sessions, staying calm and collected in the hard situations."
After a horror year last year the Knights made a bright start to 2017 with a first-up 18-10 win over the Wests Tigers and while many experienced faces were missing, Lamb thought there were good signs in the combinations on show.
"We had new players out there and we seemed to come together really well," he said.
"I personally don't think we looked disjointed or anything so if we can have this group together then hopefully when it comes to the real season we've got a good group as well."
Aloiai excited about what's to come
They may be out of finals contention after dropping both of their games on day one but Wests Tigers forward Josh Aloiai says fans shouldn't lose heart about what's ahead in 2017.
A first-up loss to the Knights was something of a shock for a Tigers team laden with speedy young talent and then when the Storm got the better of them 14-6 their hopes of a finals berth were quashed.
This year's tournament has given the likes of Watson Heleta, Esan Masters and Moses Suli exposure to playing at the very highest level and Aloiai is confident what they learn over the course of the weekend will add to their Telstra Premiership campaign.
"That's exactly our focus and pretty much been the foundation for the season come Round 1," Aloiai said.
"Practise everything that we've been doing in pre-season and it's more about NRL footy for us so we're trying to prepare for that.
"Things are really smooth at training. The combinations that are being formed are really smooth and I can't wait to see our whole pack together as a 17."
Aloiai delivered one of the highlights of day one when he ran 80 metres to score – 85 metres if you count the five he first went back to skirt the edges of the Melbourne Storm defence.
"I'm not too sure how it happened, it happened pretty quick," he said of his long-range effort, the Tigers' only try of the game.
"That wasn't part of the game-plan, it was just something that happened."