Melbourne Storm coach Craig Bellamy was full of praise for Jahrome Hughes following a superb performance from his inexperienced fullback against the Broncos on Thursday night.
Much of the talk at the Storm in the off-season surrounded who would replace club legend Billy Slater in the No.1 jersey.
The injury to Scott Drinkwater in a trial match against the Cowboys provided Hughes with a great opportunity to make the spot his own, even though he has played No.1 just six times in his 16 games for Storm over the past two years.
The 24-year-old didn't waste any time in making an impression as he scored the first try of the match before making many damaging runs as the Storm cruised to a 22-12 triumph.
The performance caught Bellamy's eye, with the Storm coach quick to anoint the New Zealander as player of the match when he fronted the media post-game.
"I might change my mind tomorrow when I have a look at the tape, but I thought Hughesy was our best player," Bellamy said.
"I thought he was outstanding.
"He had a whole heap of runs and he was very effective with a lot of things he did."
Match Highlights: Storm v Broncos
Bellamy said the test for Hughes would be to produce that type of performance on a weekly basis and make it hard for Ryan Papenhuyzen and Drinkwater to oust him from the position.
"His test will be to get consistent with that," Bellamy said.
"He just needs to make sure he gets his consistency up there and perform like that week in week out.
"I don’t know if the other two [fullbacks] are going to be able to put in performances like that, but you would like to think so.
"As I said, I don’t think we had a better player out there tonight than Jahrome."
Bellamy was a happy man after the Storm made it six straight wins over the Broncos in front of a healthy Thursday night crowd.
The margin of victory could have easily been greater had the Storm made the most of their chances with Maroons player Felise Kaufusi guilty of bombing a certain try early in the match with the last defender already beaten. He lost the ball over the line.
Bellamy was quick to make note of it highlighting the error proved his side had plenty to work on.
"We can certainly improve our attack... but it is round one so we can improve everything," Bellamy said.
"We are real happy to get the win and I thought it was a very high quality game for round one.
"There was a lot of pressure at times from both sides... I am really happy with the way our guys played."