Hughes ready to fill Slater’s shoes
JAHROME Hughes has declared he is ready to fill the fullback role should Billy Slater's hopes of a fairytale finish are dashed.
Hughes is the man on standby to take Slater's place should the Slater be suspended at the judiciary. The 23-year-old has played just 17 top grade games after making his debut for the Titans in 2013.
He has featured in 11 this year but just six at fullback.
"I'll be ready," Hughes said. "I'm going to prepare like I'm playing even if I'm not. I'll be preparing like that.
"He deserves to play. He has done so much for the game. For him to be rubbed out of his last game and a grand final is a bit sad.
"If he does get rubbed out I'll be ready to play. I could go on for hours (about what I've learnt). He is one of those players who you pick up from because he is so dominate at training not just in games. "Off the field I've learnt a lot. I want to see him play."
Hughes has played in front of more than 20,000 people just twice in his career. He said he won't be overawed by the prospect of playing in front 80,000 on Sunday.
"I will be alight," Hughes said. "We've seen when he has been injured with the hamstring and Origin he didn't play many games for the Storm and I jumped in there. If I do get the chance to play, the boys like Cameron Smith and Munster will help me out.
"Nothing has been said (by coach Craig Bellamy). I'm prepared to be playing."
Hughes is also on the verge of inking a long-term deal with the Storm. Despite being contracted until the end of next season he will commit to the club for at least another two years as he shapes to become Slater's long-term replacement.
Hughes could have been turning out for the Roosters had they had it their way having played under-18 SG Ball at the club alongside the likes of Lloyd Perrett and Tautau Moga.
"I was at school and flew down every weekend to play SG Ball," Hughes said. "It was pretty good. At the time I didn't want to live in Sydney. Sydney wasn't the place I wanted to be. I ended up staying at the Gold Coast.
"They wanted to keep me but I decided to stay on the Gold Coast but my family were there. I was pretty determined to stay on the Gold Coast."
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