As Storm entered the field at AAMI Park in front of a crowd for the first time in more than 500 days, all eyes were on the man who would lead Melbourne Storm into a new era after the retirement of Cameron Smith – Jesse Bromwich.
In 51 minutes, the prop did what anyone would have asked of him as he stuck 20 tackles and ran for 122 metres – a fine effort from a man entering a new chapter in his career.
It’s been a whirlwind Bromwich so far, but despite the setbacks, he prepares to play his 250th tonight against Parramatta Eels.
Bromwich joins Matt Geyer, Cameron Smith, Billy Slater, Cooper Cronk and Ryan Hoffman in the Storm’s very 250 exclusive club – not a bad effort for a kid who joined the club in the midst of one sport’s greatest controversies back in 2010.
“To play 250 is a wonderful achievement and with the way he has played, it just goes to show the professional that he is,” coach Craig Bellamy said during a press conference dedicated to the 2021 co-captain – alongside lock Dale Finucane.
Although Bromwich captained his first game without his partner, as Finucane recovers from injury, the start to their campaign was successful, securing a 26-18 victory against the Rabbitohs in round 1.
Heading into round two, Bellamy said that the honour to play 250 games is one deserved for Bromwich, missing just 11 games through suspension or injury since his debut in 2010.
“He’s a great clubman Jesse, he’s been a wonderful player for us,” Bellamy said.
“He’s only the sixth guy from this club to play 250. That’s a big honour in itself.”
Bromwich is undeniably one of Storm’s best.
Since 2011, he has been a part of the 2012, 2017 and 2020 premierships and won three Player of the Year awards – even “when our Big Three were at their best” as Bellamy put it.
His loyalty has remained to the Storm. Each time Bromwich’s contract came to an end, he’d re-sign despite being one of the game’s elite props and could have found himself elsewhere on big money.
Jesse bleeds purple and tonight’s rivalry against Parramatta will be no different.
The Storm take on the Eels at 8:05pm AEDT.