Hughes won't spray Storm skipper Smith

Jahrome Hughes is embraced by Cameron Smith. The pair combined in the halves against the Roosters.
Jahrome Hughes is embraced by Cameron Smith. The pair combined in the halves against the Roosters.

Jahrome Hughes know who is boss when it comes to the Melbourne Storm.

With Cameron Smith lining up alongside him the halves last NRL round against the Sydney Roosters, Hughes was given the green light by coach Craig Bellamy to "spray" the skipper if he wasn't in position.

But Hughes said it was "too scary".

"Maybe a couple of times he was in the wrong place and Craig gave me the green light to spray him but I couldn't do it," 25-year-old Hughes said on Monday

"I just gave him a polite reminder that he wasn't playing hooker, he was playing in the halves but I wouldn't spray him - that's too scary.

"If I'd sprayed him I don't know what I would have got - probably the steely eyes and then dropped the week after."

Bellamy said post-match that Smith had been nervous about the change in roles but Hughes didn't see it.

"He looks the same to me every day - always so calm and cool - I've never seen him nervous so I don't even know what that looks like."

Hughes let his football do the talking, scoring two tries including a 71st minute effort which got Melbourne back in the hunt before taking down the premiers in golden point, 27-25.

The match was rated one of his best in his 44 games at the club, particularly with Test playmaker Cameron Munster out injured, which forced the halves reshuffle.

"The coaches wanted me to use my running game, even though I am playing in the halves and I think it's just a confidence thing," the Kiwi international said.

"I want to run the ball more and it's helpful for the team so it's about backing myself to do that and building it into my game."

Another huge challenge looms on Saturday night against the grand final team the Raiders, in Canberra.

"It was good to get the win against the Roosters, who are the benchmark after the COVID shutdown so we were pretty happy but we had reviews today and there's a lot we want to improve on as well," Hughes said.

"We want to get up for the Raiders; it's going to be a big game for us so hopefully we can prepare well."

Australian Associated Press