In one of the most hotly-contested Shield seasons in years, the Redbacks head into the final round equal on 26 points with Western Australia and New South Wales, who play each other at Manuka Oval from Tuesday.
“We’ve all been playing some really good cricket through the whole season, and if we win this one, we’re guaranteed a spot in the final,” Hughes said.
“I’ve been talking to the boys the last couple of weeks, and everyone individually has been playing good, and collectively as well … it’s just unfortunate we haven’t sealed it to be in that final, but more importantly we’ve got this game in front of us and we know that if we win, we’ll be in the final.
“We’ve definitely coming on as a playing unit, and we’re gelling well.”
Hughes insisted that despite his lack of game time, he felt in good shape ahead of the crunch match.
“I’ve done it a little bit now – been on tours and running drinks, helping the boys out,” he explained. “I’ve spent a lot of time in the nets, and training along with the boys and I feel like I’m in really good shape coming into this week.”
The left-hander feels he has benefited from the honesty of Australia coach Darren Lehmann, who dropped him after the second Ashes Test at Lord’s last year, and has since preferred George Bailey, Alex Doolan and Shaun Marsh in the Test middle-order.
“He’s been outstanding,” Hughes said. “He’s given me some really good clarity, and that’s all you really want from a coach.”