STARS: Australia captain-coach combination Cameron Smith and Mal Meninga alongside New Zealand mentor Stephen Kearney and skipper Jesse Bromwich at Hunter Stadium on Anzac Test eve. Picture: Max Mason-Hubers. Jesse Bromwich has played under the captaincy of Cameron Smith at the Melbourne Storm since making his NRL debut in 2010.
This Friday night at Hunter Stadium they will both have leadership roles,butas trans-Tasman rivals in an Anzac Test between Australia and New Zealand.
Bromwich was named skipper of the Kiwis this week and although Smith’sinfluence will be somewhat apparent the rookie commander wants to make his own mark in charge.
“I’velearned a lot off Smithy, so I guess I’llbe stealing a few things,” Bromwich said at the Newcastle venue on match eve. “But I’m my own man.Iwill be looking at being myself and leading through my actions.”
The message was loud and clear offthe newly appointed Bromwich and the in-form prop, Storm player of the year for two seasons running, wants to keep the coveted trophy away from the Kangaroos by leading from the front.
“There’s been abit more talking at team meetingsand a bit more leadership at training, but I’ve beentrying to work on that at the Storm the last couple of years,” Bromwich said. “Coming into Kiwi camp and being captain has been good for me and it’stime to step up.”
Bromwich, who celebrated his 27thbirthday in camp on Tuesday, was given the stamp of approval fromexperiencedAustralian skipper Smith, who is set to bring up his 44thinternational appearance.
SKIPPERS: Teammates one day – international rivals the next. Australia’s Cameron Smith and New Zealand’s Jesse Bromwich will go head-to-head at Hunter Stadium in Friday night’s Anzac Test. Picture: Max Mason-Hubers.
“I wasvery proud of his appointment as captain,Ithink it’s very well deserved,” Smith said on Thursday.
“To watchhim joinour club in Melbourne as a young man, 19 Ithink he was, and to see where he has come now in such a short space of time, it’sa credit to him and his family and the people around him. Ithink he’s going to go from strength to strength and we’veseen over the last two years how much he has improved as a player on the field. He hasbeen tremendous for our club and I’mhappy for him to lead out the Kiwis tomorrownight and hopefully we have a really good game.”
Coach of the No.1 ranked Test side Stephen Kearney brushed aside underdog labelsandprescription drug dramas that saw three players stood down from national duties earlier this week.
“It doesn’t bother us,” Kearney said. “Lastyear we were underdogs, andthe year before that, so it’sof no concern for us. It’s aboutpreparing ourselves as well as we can and bringing our best game tomorrow night. That’sall our focus has been this week regardless of the disruptions.”