Munster backs Storm X-factor as key to title defence
CAMERON Munster feels Jahrome Hughes has the X-factor that could help Melbourne become the first team in a unified competition in 25 years to claim back-to-back premierships.
The Storm's new NRL halves partnership has continued to blossom with the duo combining to put Canberra to the sword on Saturday night and help Melbourne retain their position at the top of the ladder.
Brisbane won successive titles in 1997-98, although the first was won in the Super League, while the Broncos were also the last team in a unified competition to win repeat premierships in 1992-93.
With the victory over the Raiders their eighth straight, the Storm are building nicely to knock off that longstanding record with Munster and Hughes key to that success.
Starting the season as back-up to Billy Slater at fullback, Hughes has shown his talent to adapt to any backline position in his three starts at No.7.
"Jahrome's a great player and he's playing some outstanding footy," Munster said.
"What I love about him is the way he backs himself. He sees what's in front of him and goes to his instincts and it's really working for him."
Munster admitted some frustration as the Storm searched for a permanent replacement for Cooper Cronk.
Ryley Jacks and Brodie Croft had their chances but Munster felt like they had their man.
"Putting Jahrome in there with a bit of X-factor is going to be pretty scary for us," he said.
"Jahrome is similar to myself, a running five-eighth, but just with a seven on his back and the way he runs the ball he's going to create something out of nothing.
"That's something we love about him so hopefully he can keep going the way he's going."
Melbourne will get a true test of their premiership credentials when they face South Sydney on Friday night, with the Rabbitohs only trailing the front-runners on points differential.
"It's really exciting to see where we are actually at," Munster said.
"We'll have to go back to the drawing board against Seibs (South Sydney coach Anthony Seibold) as he was obviously here and he'll have some trick plays up his sleeve against us."