Jahrome Hughes made an animated return to training after a calf injury, on Sunday, though the Melbourne Storm linchpin admits he still needs to overcome some barriers to confirm his participation in the upcoming critical preliminaries against Penrith, on Friday.
Last Friday, the Storm halfback was a fretful onlooker when the Melbourne team narrowly clinched a victory over the Roosters, leading to the imminent Sydney face-off with the reigning champions for a slot in the grand finale.
Hughes expressed cogent awareness of the need to be fully fit before considering participation in the upcoming match. Although his recovery seems to be on a positive trajectory, he noted that his capacity to train effectively this week will dictate whether he will be part of the all-or-nothing penultimate duel.
“I am making excellent progress with my recovery. Nonetheless, I do not want to rush aspects of my rehab and will approach it one day at a time,” Hughes asserted Monday.
Commencing this week on a robust note, Hughes has moved into top gear taking advantage of the ended weekend. Last week, Hughes undertrained and fell short of recovery targets, as he left most of the exercise to the latter part of the week.
“I am innately competitive, especially when it comes to crucial finals. Last week, I remember persistently reassuring the physio that I was alright to play, much to his disbelief,” remarked Hughes.
The Star playmaker acknowledged the gravity of being adequately fit before any game, “If I don’t complete the game, it’s detrimental to my team. I will ensure that I am fully ready before the match.”
Despite making impressive strides during his run on Sunday, Hughes is pragmatic about the nature of calf injuries, assuring careful consideration of his next steps.
Another significant return may be from winger Xavier Coates, as Hughes, while observing his team clinch a hard-won victory over the Roosters, determined practical enhancements for Melbourne.
In the current season, Penrith has outperformed Storm in both their encounters and secured victories in four of their recent five meetings, with a 102-50 tally over these matches.
In the past five face-offs, Melbourne has only managed a single try against Penrith on three occasions, and consistently enduring a scoring deficit. Even in the opening final against the Broncos, Storm’s offence failed.
However, Hughes is optimistic, discerning “massive strides” in the victory over the Roosters. He believes re-entering his team’s core players, after merely one game in a month due to resting during the final round of the regular season, won’t disrupt the team synergy.
“We made massive strides from the week before. Our spine played outstandingly and had more chances than in the previous week,” Hughes said.
Despite limited recent training with the team, Hughes insists he possesses knowing of their objectives and anticipations, as he has been a part of the team.
“I believe we will deliver if we stick to our brand of football. Given that Penrith is notorious for fighting until the last whistle, we should be ready to match their tenacity,” concluded Hughes.