"You can't replace Billy Slater – we don't want anyone to try to be Billy Slater," Storm captain Cameron Smith declared during a press conference at Geelong's GMHBA Stadium on Friday morning.
"They are huge shoes to fill – whoever gets the opportunity to wear the number one jersey needs to make that spot his own and bring his own style of play to our team."
With a two-week training camp at Geelong Grammar behind him, Smith fronted the media with Geelong Cats captain Joel Selwood ahead of Storm's pre-season clash at GMBHA Stadium next month.
He revealed Jahrome Hughes and Scott Drinkwater were vying for the vacant fullback position, with the trial game against the New Zealand Warriors on February 22 expected to provide more clarity.
"Both guys have been training quite well – Scott has been training quite exceptionally," Smith said.
"I dare say both those guys will be getting some game time during the trial match - after the Geelong game Craig (Bellamy) will have a fair indication as to who will get that number one jersey in round one.
Following a string of off-field incidents during the off-season, Smith supported NRL CEO Todd Greenberg's call for harsher penalties for players who tarnish the game's reputation.
The Rugby League Players Association president said it was clear past penalties had not deterred players.
"I absolutely support harsher penalties – I'm all for that," he said. "It really is time we grow up as a game. These guys have got to understand there is a responsibility that comes with being a professional athlete.
"It doesn't matter what code you play, you need to make the right choices."
The Storm squad concluded a two-week training camp at Geelong Grammar this week.
"It is an opportunity to put a little extra work in. Being able to keep the entire squad together for a two-week period certainly helps to bring the group closer together." Smith said.
Selwood said the Cats felt "lucky" to have Storm training in their backyard. "We admire the Storm. Each year they come out and give themselves a chance to be there right at the end," he said.
"We have been lucky to have been involved with Storm for a while – our coaches have mixed with their coaches a lot and the football departments have spoken over the journeys.
"The way they have been able to flip their list and they are still right up there – we feel quite lucky they are in our backyard at the moment."
Storm will again travel down the highway next month to host the New Zealand Warriors at GMHBA Stadium, bringing elite rugby league to Geelong for the first time since 2013.
The trial match will be played under lights on February 22.
Don't wait until March to see your Storm play – tickets are still available here: msr.lc/GeelongTrial