Hughes, Fogarty reunite for NRL final

·2-min read

Melbourne's Jahrome Hughes and Canberra's Jamal Fogarty were once mates on the same rugby league team with neither in the No.7 jersey.

Ahead of their sudden-death clash at Melbourne's AAMI Park on Saturday, Hughes remembered one crunch match.

In 2011 the pair played in Palm Beach Currumbin State High School's triumphant league team, which won the Queensland title after beating Keebra Park in the final.

Playing fullback Hughes scored a length-of-the-field try to open the scoring, while Fogarty started at five-eighth with former Sea Eagle Kane Elgey, who retired aged 25, at halfback.

Schoolboy stars, it took both a while to find their feet in the NRL, particularly Fogarty who has flourished since joining the Raiders this season from Gold Coast.

"We had a pretty good team and I remember that game as we were flogging them and they came back and nearly beat us," Hughes told AAP.

"It's pretty crazy that we're meeting again this Saturday.

"He's probably taken the long road but he's done such a good job to get to where he is now and he's playing really good footy so it's good to see him doing well."

Missing the first 11 rounds due to a knee injury, Fogarty has since been a force for Canberra, forming a strong halves partnership with Jack Wighton.

"He leads them around the park and he's always been good at that since school days," Hughes said.

"I'm really happy for him, although I'm hoping we get the win against him this week."

Hughes missed the final regular round with a calf injury but is confident of lining up for the do-or-die match.

The Raiders have won on their last four visits to Melbourne and Hughes said his side needed a fast start to try to crush their confidence.

"We need to start well because it takes too much energy out of everyone if we turn the ball over early and have to do a lot of defending and then we feel like we're on the backfoot the whole time," he said.

"We need to front-load our energy into that first 10 minutes, hold on to the ball and get into a bit of a rhythm because if you don't do that it's tough to stay in the game.

"We've done a great job over the last couple of weeks getting back into the game but that's not going to be good enough in a final."