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Slater in ear of Hughes to get fullback to speak up

Jahrome Hughes is not a natural communicator at fullback but he's got the perfect role model in his ear teaching him about the art of organising and revving up his Melbourne teammates.

Billy Slater was a great communicator at the back for the Storm during his illustrious career and Hughes, who said he doesn't like talking much on or off the field, has been working with the Storm, Maroons and Kangaroos legend to get better in this area.

"It is something I am going to have to do to be a fullback in the NRL," Hughes said.

"I have been working with Billy a lot ... he was the best at it to ever play the game.

"Even when I am at training now he is talking over me and I am the fullback, so he has still got it in him. 

"It is something I have got to get better at and I will keep working with Billy to try and get better at that."

Every try from Round 7

Hughes has already shown enough to suggest he could be Slater’s long-term successor in the No.1 jersey, but the softly spoken Kiwi knows he has plenty of work to do if he is to make that position his own.

Hughes somewhat fortuitously won the race to start the season at the back for the Storm when first choice option Scott Drinkwater hurt his pectoral during a trial against the Cowboys.

Despite wearing the No.1 jersey with aplomb through each of the Storm's first seven matches in 2019, Hughes thinks it's far too early for him to be considered a walk-up start in that position.

Young back Ryan Papenhuyzen has been snapping at Hughes's heels with three appearances off the bench for Craig Bellamy's side this season, while Drinkwater has begun his rehabilitation from injury and is expected to return midway through the year.

"I don’t think I have earnt it yet and I still think I have got a lot to do to call that No.1 my own," Hughes said.

"It (having challengers at fullback) is sort of good pressure. It just makes me want to perform better every week and I am going to need to do that to be able to keep that spot."

Hughes came to the Storm following unsuccessful stints with the Titans and the Cowboys, while he only cemented his spot at fullback at the start of this season after playing in the halves for much of his first year in Melbourne in 2017.

The 24-year-old revealed his body was struggling with the rigours of playing 80 minutes each week at fullback and that the Storm's medical staff have been working with him regularly to help fasten his recovery.

Get Caught Up: Round 7

"I am not really used to playing fullback for 80 minutes so I have been pretty sore after the games," Hughes admitted.

"My body has been pulling up sore and we have put a few things in place with the staff here so hopefully it is a matter of getting myself used to the grind.

"There are extra things I can be doing before and after training that are going to help me ... so there is a lot of rehab I can be doing and need to be doing to try and stay on the field."

Acknowledgement of Country

National Rugby League respects and honours the Traditional Custodians of the land and pay our respects to their Elders past, present and future. We acknowledge the stories, traditions and living cultures of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples on the lands we meet, gather and play on.

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