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By the time 7.00pm rolls around on Monday, Jahrome Hughes knows the levels of nervous energy and tension will exceed anything he felt in the first six weeks and most likely the next six.

Since 2009, the Storm and Warriors have met on ANZAC Day, a day of reverence and respect in Australia and New Zealand in which we honour the men and women who made the ultimate sacrifice and those who still serve their country today.

After the Roosters and Dragons continue their 20-year tradition at the SCG on Monday afternoon, attention shifts to Melbourne's AAMI Park, where Hughes and his team-mates will stand shoulder to shoulder with the Warriors in a solemn pre-game ceremony which sets the scene for an emotional 80 minutes.

"It does get emotional when you think about what the ANZACs did for us. You don’t take it for granted," said Hughes, who won the Spirit of ANZAC Medal as player of the match in Melbourne's 42-20 triumph last year.

The whole day is special and it's one of those days and games you look forward to every year.

Jahrome Hughes

"It's a very special occasion and AAMI Park does such a great job putting on a spectacle and the pre-game is special.

ANZAC Round, 2022

"You think about all that has happened and you see all the stuff on TV and without noticing it you do get into it. You want to pay your respects and you think about everyone that went to fight for us."

As a proud Kiwi, Hughes says the fact the Storm play the Warriors on ANZAC Day adds even greater significance and his standout performance in last year's game showed how much the occasion means to him.

Hughes' four try assists, three line breaks, two line break assists and 115 metres were the catalyst for Melbourne's win — their fifth in a row in the annual ANZAC Day clash.

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Coming off three victories in a row over the Bulldogs, Raiders and Sharks, Hughes is confident the Storm are on the right track as they prepare to host the Warriors again.

"We’ll have a build-up and make a week of it. All the boys buy into it and we make it a big occasion and it's a game we want to win," Hughes said.

"We all believe in our system and when you see people outside wanting or hoping we are going to fall off, that gives us motivation.

"It makes us work harder to prove people wrong. 

"Everyone the coaching staff get down here they give them a simple task or job and tell them to be willing to work hard. The coaches make sure everyone does that or they know they'll get a rocket from Craig [Bellamy] or they won’t last here.

Hughes, Hughes and more Hughes

"Even for me, Craig gives me simple things each week to play well. He does simplify things and everyone responds to that."

Hughes is full of respect for the sacrifices the Warriors have made to help keep the game going during the past two years and he has already circled July 29 on the calendar when the Storm are scheduled to play at Mt Smart Stadium in Auckland for the first time since round 13, 2019.

"We are the second game back for the Warriors [after the Tigers in round 16] and it'll be huge," he said.

"It will be special for the Kiwis to be back home. The Warriors fans deserve to see their home team back at home and the Warriors boys deserve to go back home as well after all they sacrificed to keep the NRL going."

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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