Bromwich key to Storm's succession plan
The Melbourne Storm took one giant leap towards life after the 'Big Three' with Kiwi captain Jesse Bromwich signing for another three years which will keep him at the club until at least the end of 2020.
The international forward also has a two-year option and his extension is a vital component in the Storm's succession plan when Cooper Cronk, Cameron Smith and Billy Slater decide to finally hang up the boots.
Bromwich spoke of his excitement to be a cornerstone in the Storm's continued success in the NRL.
"I definitely think the club's headed in the right direction," Bromwich said in his press announcement.
"I know there's a plan in place for when the three big boys retire. I know I am a part of that. I definitely back the club and fully trust the club with where they're headed.
"We've got good players coming through. We've got (Cameron) Munster there and young Brodie (Croft) who are doing a good job at the moment. It's definitely an exciting time for our club. They're very lucky to get to learn from guys like Cooper, Billy and Cam. Hopefully they can learn a lot over the next three years and they can get on for their careers."
Winner of the Storm's Player of the Year award for the past three consecutive seasons, Bromwich's signing signals Melbourne's future stability during a time of speculation about Cronk's possible retirement at the end of this year.
Whether that's true or not, club CEO Dave Donaghy is aware there will be a time when the Big Three era will end.
"I think it's white noise that doesn't impact us internally," Donaghy said.
"We know at some point some of those guys are going to be finishing up. While we'd like to see them play on until they're 40-odd (years old), the reality is they're not going to.
"Jesse's a great player and he's a very important anchor for us in that forward pack. It allows us to have a great deal of stability in the pack. He's a leader and we can really build around him upfront.
"The leadership Jesse offers when the time does come to say goodbye to those guys, we know we've got Jesse there to lead us through in our senior playing group."
The 27-year-old has played 160 games for Melbourne since graduating from the club's development system and was part of their Under-20s premiership win in 2009 before helping claim the 2012 NRL premiership.
It seems fitting the club sees him as a future Melbourne captain.
"Jesse possesses all the leadership skills of a captain," Donaghy said.
"We've seen New Zealand recognize that and he's captained his country at the highest level. He definitely has a proven ability to be captain if that is what the coach and players at the time decide."
As Bromwich celebrates his thoroughly-deserved new contract with the club which has become home for him and his family, he will miss his first game in two years due to a thumb injury.
"I'm pretty gutted I miss out on going to New Zealand and playing there.
"I feel very lucky (to in Melbourne). I was walked off the street. Now here I am signing a three-year deal with the club that I could never see myself playing at.
"Now this club means everything to me."