Jahrome Hughes has only played three NRL games in his young career, but he'll never forget his first taste of victory after starring in Cameron Smith's 350th game.
Hughes was beaming with pride after starring in the Storm's 40-6 win against the Sea Eagles, but it was the chance to play in Smith's milestone game that will make his first win in the NRL so memorable.
“It was an unreal feeling. It was my first NRL win which made it even more special," he said.
"Playing in Cam’s 350th game was probably the biggest thing for me. It was such a privilege to do that.”
The 22-year-old fullback stepped into the breach as a late replacement for Ryley Jacks on Sunday afternoon and enjoyed playing in such a milestone game.
“When I knew I was playing in this game with him during the week, I think I was more nervous playing with him (Smith) than playing first grade, so that tells you everything about the man he is," he said.
“Craig (Bellamy) told me that Bill wasn’t playing but wasn’t sure what he wanted to do with the team. I trained with the boys, see how we go. Later on during the week he told me I was playing – that’s when all the nerves started kicking in – just so excited.”
The man of the hour – Cameron Smith – was very happy with the young utility’s performance, showing there is plenty to be excited about the future of the club.
“It was the first time I’ve played along side him, I seen him play a couple of games with Origin and I was really impressed how he performed," Smith said.
"Today he was fantastic, he was everywhere for us. Made some decisive runs for us, made some great defence on our try line.”
Smith also shared at how appreciative Hughes was to play in his milestone game afterwards.
“He actually came up and gave me a big hug after the game and said, ‘thanks mate, I really appreciated being a part of this game, I don’t know if I’ll get the opportunity again.’ That’s the type of person he is and the type of people we want at this club – that are grateful for getting the opportunity to play.
“How good’s that – a young fella coming up to an old boy like me and saying that.”
Hughes has had to come back from two back surgeries in recent seasons and didn’t expect to get an NRL game so early. So he bided his time in the Queensland Cup with the Sunshine Coast Falcons.