Jahrome Hughes is finally feeling part of the Melbourne Storm after a consistent run in purple this year.
Coach Craig Bellamy admitted last week that he couldn't drop the 23-year-old because of his form and effort in the previous two months.
It was a welcome confidence boost for the young utility who was struggling to assert himself on the park.
"I didn't try and read anything into it too much, but I heard about it," Hughes said of Bellamy's endorsement.
"That is a big confidence boost and is something I've been lacking in the couple of games, a bit of confidence, but I think I've showed a bit on the weekend. I just need to keep working at it."
Hughes had a career-best performance in the Storm's 52-30 demolition of the Dragons, starring with 209 metres, a try and plenty of useful attacking kicks.
His footy skills have always been apparent, but his challenge was feeling he could call the shots among more experienced teammates.
Slater's top 5 Queenslanders
"I used to watch them play when I was younger and look up to them. It was pretty hard to try and get vocal in the game. But the coaches wanted me to get better in that, and I feel like I've added a little bit. Just trying to get better at that week in and week out."
Hughes was filling in for Slater at a 'Billy's Buddies' clinic on Tuesday and is seen as the Queensland captain's replacement when he finally calls it a day, but the former Titan and Cowboy doesn't have a preference about where he plays for the Storm.
"Not at the moment," he said.
"If they want to put me anywhere, I'll be happy to play there. I guess getting in the team week in, week out is probably my main goal. It doesn't matter where it is, whether it's on the bench, at fullback or in the halves, I'm happy to get a couple of games with the Storm."
The Storm face the Sea Eagles for the first time since their 24-4 loss at AAMI Park in round 11, also their last defeat. It's not about payback though.
"We haven't really spoken about that," he said.
"The only thing we've have is them beating us last time, and we just want to get one back. After last week's game, we need to work on our defence."