Returning halfback Ryley Jacks expects to start the new season down the pecking order in the race to partner Cameron Munster in the Storm halves.
The departure of Brodie Croft to the Broncos means the No.7 jersey at the Storm is up for grabs and Jacks has a three-way battle on his hands on his return to Melbourne with versatile Kiwi Jahrome Hughes and young gun Cooper Johns.
Hughes appears the front-runner after he finished 2019 in the jersey and that's exactly the way Jacks expects coach Craig Bellamy to go when he picks the side that will tackle the Sea Eagles at Lottoland in round one.
"I can't see Craig going with much of a different team to what got him to a preliminary final, so I expect Hughes and Munster will be set (halves pairing) for the start of the year," Jacks said on Wednesday.
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"But once I do get my opportunity throughout the year I just have to grab it.
"Some years you think you are going to get a crack in round five and you get a chance in round one.
"In my debut year (2017) it came straight away in round one, so it's funny how it works out."
Jacks returns to the Storm following a difficult 12 months on the Gold Coast that saw the Titans win just four matches and claim their second ever wooden spoon.
Despite the Titans' struggles on and off the field, Jacks said he enjoyed his time up north and returns to Melbourne a much better player for the experience.
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"Although we didn’t win a lot on the Gold Coast, I think I learnt a lot," Jacks said.
"I had more influence on the game up there and I feel a better player for going there.
"I took a lot out of it, so I see it as a positive more than a negative."
And Jacks revealed he has been stunned at the growth of Johns during his 12 months away from Melbourne and he expects the 20-year-old to be pushing hard for a starting berth.
"I was blown away with the amount of improvement he has done in just that year," Jacks said.
"I was quite amazed as to how much he has grown as a player, he is really smart and I guess his old man has something to do with that."