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Melbourne the perfect fit for Booth

Aaron Booth made a lasting impression during his pre-season stint in Melbourne.

Not only did he win the I Don't Quit iron bar - one of the club's most revered individual accolades - he also won over coaches and staff with his affable, engaging personality.

It came as no surprise to anyone who met him earlier this year when the club offered him a full time development contract in March, and the 24-year-old has finally settled in Melbourne after several weeks in Brisbane during the coronavirus hiatus.

"I haven't really been settled anywhere since I came down here for pre-season in November - it's been back and forth between Melbourne and Brisbane," Booth said.

"I'm glad now I can set up and hopefully stay down here for as long as possible.

"I've moved in with Nicho (Hynes) Darryn (Schonig) and Chris (Lewis), which has helped me settle in. Experiencing another new city is always exciting and an adventure in itself."

'I Don't Quit' - rookies pushed to their limits

Booth spent his time in isolation living with his partner and a friend in Brisbane, patiently waiting to pick up where he left off at Storm.

"I was still getting two to three days of work a week and my roommate up there plays football so we managed to train quite a bit," he said.

"Easts Tigers lent me some weights so having a set up in the house made it easy to stay motivated.

"My partner stays fit so she would drag me along if I wasn't feeling it and just knowing I was coming back down to Melbourne was motivation enough really.

"I got through a few documentaries (during iso). Kissed by God about Andy Irons stood out for sure."

Booth training in Albury last month.
Booth training in Albury last month.

Booth is no stranger to a setback and sees the cancellation of the Intrust Super Cup season as an opportunity to focus on earning first grade selection.

His patience and perseverance has served him well so far, given he missed the entirety of the 2018 season with an ACL injury and further meniscus damage sidelined him for the majority of 2019.

"My goals for 2020 were around getting back down to Melbourne, which has now happened," Booth said.

"Next is to do all I can to be ready when or if a chance to play first grade arises.

"Since signing with Storm the biggest change for me has been the extra time that's now allocated to improving and developing as a player.

Living in Melbourne, being at the club full time and being able to focus on football completely and not balance footy with a full time job has been unreal for me mentally and physically.

Aaron Booth

"I'm loving training with the squad again. I'm definitely still adapting to the cold weather so I'm not loving that, although it's growing on me."

Booth has a warm smile that makes him immediately likeable and he's always up for a chat, but he admits he was at first starstruck by the NRL's most capped player of all time.

"I didn't get to train with Cameron (Smith) in the pre-season so since we started back I've tried watching and learning from him as much as possible," he said.

"Playing hooker and having the all time best right there has been pretty surreal.

Learning from Cam Smith was definitely what I looked forward to most about coming back.

Aaron Booth

Booth hopes hard work on the training track will eventually earn him an NRL debut, but for now he's just stoked to pursue his dream at the club he believes is the best possible place for him to learn.

"The Storm are the top of the mountain," he said.

"I've learnt so much from everyone at the club - between the players and coaches I've felt as though they are all constantly looking to help me and each other.

"I'm so grateful to be here and I'm soaking it all up."