Life without the "big three" starts for outgoing Melbourne five-eighth Gareth Widdop when England play Australia on Sunday morning (AEDT).
Like many Storm players in recent years, he became a beneficiary of playing with Cameron Smith, Billy Slater and Cooper Cronk since his debut in 2010.
Widdop was a vital cog in the Storm machine, so much so that Melbourne coach Craig Bellamy ushered him back into the top grade team once he had recovered from a serious hip injury.
He went on to play the final two games of their season after it seemed his Storm career had ended in round 15.
"I know the way they play but you have to stop them," Widdop said. "They are great players but you've got to know how to stop them."
Widdop will walk out of the Storm trio's shadows next year when he goes from understudy to marquee man, switching on a big-money deal to St George Illawarra.
The Halifax-born pivot welcomed the extra responsibility.
"I'm looking forward to it," Widdop said. "I've learnt a lot in the past few years but I felt it was time to move on. I've got a great opportunity to become more of a leader [at the Dragons]."
Widdop's willingness not to end his Storm career on the sidelines was received with some trepidation at his new club; Dragons officials were apprehensive as they learnt their star recruit was pushing to return to the field this year after a hip dislocation.
"They had contact with me," Widdop said. "To be honest I was contracted to Melbourne so they couldn't effectively do too much. They did contact me to see how I was and had contact with our physios and doctors. I met them at the end of the year. I got cleared and I'm fit to go - there's no real issues there.
"They've invested in myself. I suppose they didn't want me playing. I'm 100 per cent fit."
While Widdop's England starting spot is far from ensured, he isn't surprised by Cronk's battle with Daly Cherry-Evans to wear the No 7 for the Kangaroos.
Widdop is in a contest of his own as he looks to join Rangi Chase or Kevin Sinfield in the halves to open the World Cup for England at Cardiff.
"You've got Cherry-Evans there who has had a great season and played in the grand final," Widdop said.
"I'm not surprised that [Cherry-Evans has] been mentioned but I'm sure Cooper will be fine and starting.
"I class myself as a half/five-eighth starting player. I want to be starting and that's what I see but at the end of the day it's not my choice.
"It comes down to [coach Steve McNamara's] decision," Widdop said.
"I believe I can do a job starting there. If he goes the other way, there is nothing I can do."