Melbourne prop Jesse Bromwich admits it has taken him some time to embrace his new role as vice-captain of the runaway league leaders.
The Storm unveiled a new-look structure to their leadership group at the start of the season, with Bromwich promoted alongside lock Dale Finucane to provide support to evergreen captain Cameron Smith.
It was the first time Bromwich had held the vice-captaincy role at the Storm and the 30-year-old said it didn't sit well with him initially and he is only starting to get used to the title now as the end to the regular season closes in.
"I am really enjoying it now, but I was a bit standoffish and a bit shocked at the start," Bromwich told NRL.com.
"As the year has gone on I have grown into it and it is something that I am really proud of now.
"I look at Cameron and Dale as real good leaders and to be named alongside Dale and behind Cameron is very special.
"It [leadership] is something that I am always trying to work on and trying to be better in parts of my game."
Smith played his 400th match for the Storm on the weekend when the league leaders demolished the Sharks 40-16 and Bromwich knows he may have to wait in the wings for a few more years yet before the veteran hooker calls it quits.
"I don't know how he does it. He is 36 years old, he plays 80 minutes a game and he plays in the middle every week," Bromwich said.
"I remember when I was a little kid I was watching him on the TV and I feel like I have been playing with him for a while as well, so I wouldn't be shocked if he goes on for a few more years.
"For me watching on I am just in awe how he is still going about his business and how he is still the best player in our game."
The Storm travel north this week to take on the lowly Titans on Sunday as they attempt to make it nine victories on the trot and maintain their six-point advantage at the top of the Telstra Premiership ladder.
If Melbourne are to continue on their winning ways they will have to find a way to do so without a host of big names, after they decided to rest Josh Addo-Carr, Cameron Munster, Felise Kaufusi and Will Chambers following the completion of the three-game State of Origin series earlier this month.
Bromwich said he had spoken with Storm coach Craig Bellamy about having a rest himself some time later on in the season, but it wasn't something that he and the veteran mentor could agree on.
"I am a guy who would rather miss training, rather than miss a game, but I don't know if Craig will allow that," Bromwich joked.
"I would rather have the week off training and still play the game as I love lacing up the boots and playing."