Scouting Stories: Jahrome Hughes

Jahrome Hughes arrived in Melbourne with little fanfare.

He understandably slipped under the radar having played a total of two NRL games over four years, for two different Clubs.

At the end of 2014, after two years in their NYC program, Hughes was released by the Titans and signed with Intrust Super Cup side Townsville Blackhawks.

Rather than let his career fizzle out, Hughes used that season to kick start it once again. He was named at fullback in the 2015 Intrust Super Cup Team of the Year as well as taking out the Blackhawks' Best Back and Players' Player award.

That outstanding year earned him a one-year deal with the Cowboys and a second NRL game in 2016.

By that time, the rising talent was well and truly on the Storm radar.

"Through statistics and video analysis we tracked Jahrome for two years," Storm Recruitment Manager Paul Bunn said.

"He was a player who we felt was the best performed player in the Queensland Cup. We decided we needed him at the Club."

So the wheels in motion began.

Sure enough in late June of the 2016 season, Hughes made the decision to move south in an effort to launch his career, for real this time.

Prior to this year's Origin period there were some flashes of brilliance, three tries from his first three Storm games in 2017 gave us a glimpse.

However over the last six weeks those flashes have morphed into a shining light that has the purple faithful leaping with joy at what the future holds.

Hughes has a significant journey to go before his development is complete but so far has ticked all the boxes.

"He has natural pace, natural game speed," Bunn said

"He has a good skillset and is pretty consistent in his performances. He has had some injuries since but over the next few years we will see a really good Jahrome Hughes."

To top it off Hughes has an off-field demeanour that fits the Storm mould, humble and self-aware that any success that comes his way is not possible without the support of those around him.

"He is a pretty well-rounded young gentlemen. He is quite respectful and displays a lot of humility," Bunn said.

"You just knew he would fit into this system and be a big part of it. He is a kid who can play a lot of years for you. He is a loyal kid.

"You know that he is multi-faceted, he can play at fullback or in the halves."

Given Hughes arrived at Melbourne having had more NRL clubs than games under his belt, it was not a conventional path of recruitment.

However the beauty of the Storm system is that it does not pay much attention to the notion of being 'conventional'.

"The good thing about our system is that we are not closed minded about where we get players from and how we get them," Bunn said.

"We like to identify kids young and bring them through, we like to sign really talented juniors like Curtis Scott and Joe Stimson when they are out of school.

"We will then also go in and scour reserve grade competitions looking for the best performed players in those comps.

The system is working, Jahrome Hughes is the latest youngster to prove that.