Melbourne Storm halfback Jahrome Hughes knows he must move away from his comfort zone and become more vocal on the field if is halves partnership with Cameron Munster is to thrive this season.
Hughes featured at fullback for the majority of the Storm's 2019 campaign, but a late season reshuffle on the eve of the finals saw the versatile Kiwi moved into the halves and regular halfback Brodie Croft dropped to the bench.
The jury is still out on what Hughes' best fit is in Melbourne, but the 25-year-old has been training at halfback during the summer and will play alongside Munster in the halves in the opening round against Manly on Sunday.
Munster's jovial happy-go-lucky style would seem a good mix with Hughes' quieter and more laid-back persona, but the New Zealander is well aware he has to try and find the right mix between the two if his relationship with the star five-eighth is to prosper.
"I need to back myself a bit more as sometimes I'm a bit shy," an honest Hughes said earlier this week.
"We have the best player in the world in our team and at times it's a bit tough to tell him what to do.
"But I've realised I just need to do that, he wants me to do that and the team needs me do that."
Sea Eagles v Storm - Round 1
Hughes revealed he had been working closely with champion fullback Billy Slater in order to be more vociferous on the field and Storm coach Craig Bellamy noticed a difference during the recent trial match against the Cowboys.
During that contest Hughes and Munster looks assured in the halves and both players set up tries as the Storm registered an impressive 22-14 victory to remain unbeaten for the pre-season.
"They've trained together all pre-season so I'd like to think they've made improvements there," Bellamy said of Hughes' halves partnership with Munster.
"They've still got a bit to go, to be honest, but there's obviously been some good signs at training and in this match so hopefully they can stay uninjured and getting better and better."
If Hughes' combination with Munster is to last the season then there is every chance that the Storm will once again finish the year at the pointy end of the ladder and be well placed for a tilt at the premiership.
Hughes said there was extra incentive for the Storm to go all the way in 2020, with star wingers Suliasi Vunivalu and Josh Addo-Carr already indicating that they wish to depart the club at the end of the year.
"Every year you want to make your mark and push for the premiership... and a couple leaving this year has given us a pump up to do well," Hughes said.
"To have those two gone after what they have done for the club, we want to send them out on a high."