Storm flyer Josh Addo-Carr says a tough Melbourne pre-season and the benefit of working with what he describes as three extra on-field coaches every week has helped him lift this form to the point he has earned a debut representative jersey in this weekend's City-Country match.
The former Tiger has seven tries in nine games this year, just one behind clubmate Suliasi Vunivalu who has been dominating on the opposite flank and will feature for Fiji.
He left Concord as a promising speedster following a few eye-catching performances in his debut season last year but has flourished in the Storm system, averaging 156 metres per game with 37 tackle busts.
In the lead-up to his senior representative debut, the 21-year-old told NRL.com he hadn't expected it to happen to soon.
"The pre-season gave me heaps of confidence as well as getting coached by Craig Bellamy," he said.
"You've got the 'Big Three' (Billy Slater, Cam Smith and Cooper Cronk), they're like three extra coaches on the field. It's been good, I'm really enjoying my football and I'm very grateful for this opportunity and I'm going to try and do my best this Sunday."
It may be a cliché these days but Addo-Carr insists the Melbourne pre-season is comfortably the toughest he's been through to date which helped build those combinations within the team while also boosting his personal confidence ahead of a breakout season.
One of those combinations is the in-form back three, with fellow flanker Vunivalu going from strength to strength and a fit-again Slater defying his age in a startlingly quick return to form after a two-year injury lay-off.
"We've got a lot of confidence in our ability and we've been working really hard," he said.
"I think the Storm back five were the number one kick return metres in the game so I want to try and bring that back again this year. It's working out so far. I've got Billy Slater and Suliasi Vunivalu to help me and it's been working really well.
"You get a lot of confidence out of the pre-season and the Storm, you've got to set your standards high at the Storm. Bellamy told me just before pre-season, everything you do at the Storm you have to do it at your best and I certainly did it at my best and now it's showing on the field."
Looking ahead to Sunday's game in Mudgee, Addo-Carr is determined to take his chance to impress while he has it.
"I want to show everyone what I'm capable of and come up against the best players and playing with the best players. I'm very excited for this weekend," he added.
This article first appeared on NRL.com
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