Bromwich the danger man, say Aussies
Ask an Australian Test player which men the Kangaroos need to be wary of on Friday night and it won't take them long to produce the name of in-form Storm prop Jesse Bromwich.
That's especially true of the forwards – the men tasked with handling the 110 kilogram, 193 centimetre powerhouse's deft footwork and offloads – who know how much of a danger he presents.
"They're a big side the Kiwis – we're going to have our hands full," James Tamou said.
"Their players are in great form, Jesse Bromwich and players like that. Their attacking prowess is second to none with the offload and quick feet – we've got a lot of work to do."
Aaron Woods said Bromwich was among the best forwards in the NRL.
"He's a gun," Woods said. "He's got really good feet for a big guy, he's athletic, he's got a really good offload and he's got a strong carry so he's got the complete package. He's a really good player."
Storm and Kangaroos skipper Cameron Smith knows Bromwich's game better than most but is usually on the same side as the 25-year-old Kiwi week to week.
"It's pretty difficult [to stop him]. Every team that we've played this year they've found it quite hard to stop his momentum and his running but a guy like that with the form that he's in over the last two years it's hard to keep him out of a game," Smith said.
"Really what we've got to try and do is minimise the impact he has on the match and that's just having a good attitude in defence.
"The guy is just playing extremely well at the moment. He's very confident, he's got so many attributes to his game. He's not just a big body, he's got great skill, he can pass the ball, he's got great feet and very strong.
"He's got the whole package. You've probably heard Craig Bellamy say a few times that in his opinion he's probably the best front-rower getting around in the game at the moment so we've got a huge job on our hands."
Woods said the all-round skills in the Kiwi side only made Bromwich more dangerous.
"It's not just them, it's all the players around them," Woods said.
"They show the ball, you don't know if they're going to pass or catch. Jesse is a strong guy and has got a really good offload, a late offload as well, so does Sam Moa. He's got good leg drive so there are a lot of aspects to their game that are really good.
"They've got three really good front-rowers in their side with Ben Matulino as well and they're all different. One guy is tall, the other one is a short, barrelly bloke and Jesse is real athletic."
Tamou said in-form Wests Tigers enforcer Martin Taupau was another man to watch.
"They have got one of the best power players in Martin Taupau – every time he touches the ball we're going to have our hands full.
"They're going to be looking at setting up with him, getting a quick play-the-ball and getting us on the back foot. We're going to have to be real resilient in our defence.
"They've got firepower out wide so just about everywhere across the field we're going to be under the pump. They're almost going to come out more confident than us and confidence is a big thing in rugby league so it's going to be a tough night."
Tamou agreed that if the Kiwis were able to claim a third straight win over the Aussies they would be deserved holders of the number one ranking for rugby league Test sides.
"That's a pretty fair call and they're looking pretty good for the next World Cup too," he said.
"Their age group is obviously much lower than us; if they keep that team for the next few years they'll have a great side so I think the pressure's more on us."
Smith insisted the side wasn't focused on rankings however.
"We don't so much focus on mantles or anything like that. We just want to go out there and play well and win. They want to win as well, there's no doubt about that, but it was disappointing... to lose that Four Nations to the Kiwis last year," he said.
"We had a good opportunity to win, we were playing some good football at the back-end of that tournament and they took the cake. We're there trying to win and if that gets us the No.1 spot along the way that's great but we're just there to do the jersey proud and hopefully all the Australians are proud of our efforts as well."