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Bromwich brothers go Roo hunting

Brothers Jesse and Kenny Bromwich will play together for New Zealand for the first time in Friday's Test against Australia. Credit: Brett Crockford Copyright: NRL Photos

Debutant Kiwi Kenny Bromwich admits he spent a large portion of his childhood trying to belt his older brother, but is proud as punch to join sibling Jesse for the first time in a New Zealand jumper.

As Jesse, the elder of the two Auckland boys by two years, will line up for his ninth Test against the Kangaroos at Allianz Stadium, alongside him for the first time at international level will be 22-year-old Kenny, one of six rookies named by coach Stephen Kearney.

While the Melbourne pair have been teammates since the back end of last year when Kenny overcame a series of injuries to lock down a regular spot in the Melbourne Storm's top 17, the now-bearded brothers would more often than not be found on opposing sides in the pick-up games of their youth.

"We had a big group of boys in our street we'd play with and they were all [Jesse's] age," the younger Bromwich tells NRL.com.

"I used to run around with the older blokes and I used to try and get him a bit, try and get a shot on him, but it was always pretty unsuccessful.

"I don't think I ever hurt him... well if I did he never showed it anyway."

For the record Jesse is happy to take a bit of the credit in his brother's rise to the top level after just 21 NRL games.

"I can say I've hardened him up a bit, kept him honest," laughs Jesse as the pair recall their backyard battles.

"He's caught up a bit but especially when we were a bit younger, I was always a bit bigger, and I didn't mind letting him know.

"I always thought he was a chance for this weekend, I was very excited when I found out too and very happy for him. 

"It's good to see all his hard work's paid off."

The Bromwich boys are the latest in a long line of footballing families from the land of the long white cloud, joining the likes of Nigel and Joe Vagana, Robbie and Henry Paul and the Cayless brothers Nathan and Jason in pulling on the black and white jersey alongside a family member.

With only skipper Simon Mannering (35 caps), winger Jason Nightingale (19) and forwards Adam Blair (26) and Greg Eastwood (19) having played more Tests than Jesse, the Storm bookend admits he will be expected to lead a youthful forward pack against the all-conquering Kangaroos.

"Steve hasn't said anything to me yet, we've only just got into camp but I feel like I'm a bit of an old timer having all these young blokes around," Jesse says. 

"Having a lot of fresh faces brings a lot of energy to the team and you can't help but get excited by them. 

"I definitely want to stick my hand up and lead from the front."

If you ask Kenny, his elder brother has already shown the way in developing into one of the NRL's premier front-rowers, adopting the tried and true formula of actions over words.

"He doesn't say much but watching him go about his business I've just picked up on a few of the little things he was doing, and that's really helped me with my own training.

"Just some of the stuff he was doing at training, the extra work he puts in there and in the gym too. 

"I've just started doing weights with him too; he's got the better numbers... at the moment."

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