Bromwich: 'My heart sunk'
Jessie Bromwich cuts a relaxed figure a few days before the Storm's preliminary final against the Broncos.
The prop talks openly and is at ease with himself. Go back to May and it was a very different story.
On the morning following this year's Anzac Test, Bromwich and fellow Kiwis forward Kevin Proctor were caught up in an illicit drug allegation at a Canberra nightclub. Bromwich knew he had done wrong and was about to face the wrath of Storm coach Craig Bellamy.
"To be honest, I was pretty nervous," he says.
"I was nervous for a lot of reasons. But when I saw Craig's name come up on my phone when the stuff happened, my heart just sunk.
"But after talking to him for a bit, I did feel a little bit better. I was quite surprised he didn't start tearing into me, but hopefully I've built that little bit of respect there (for his rest of year).
"I can't thank him enough for what he did for me and my family as well."
Bromwich's fondness for his club coach is evident. He speaks with a gentle warmth and affection for Bellamy that gives a rare insight into how the long-time Storm mentor cares for his players.
"I just feel lucky I turned up at this club when I did, to get coached by Craig," Bromwich says.
"For me, the main thing was this year, when I went through all that tough stuff, a lot of people came out and said bad things about me, which was fair enough. At no stage did Craig ever be negative towards me. He fully supported me and helped me through such a tough time.
"At home, I was doing it tough for a little while there, and he'd call me and make sure I'm alright. He'd pull me into his office and see if I was alright and doing well. Not only that, ringing my partner and making sure she was fine. It just goes to show what type of fella he is. I just feel lucky to be part of this club."
When players get served abuse and vitriol off the field, the impact on their families often gets forgotten about. Bromwich plans to take some time away to recharge with his wife.
"It's been a tough year – not just for me, but for the both of us too," he says.
"We'll just get away, hopefully reset and get into pre-season. I haven't done one of them for a few years now. It's going to be a young crew here at the Storm, as a lot of the boys will be playing rep. I'm looking forward to a break."
Bromwich is doing his best to finish the year strongly. People can judge him – he can't control that – but he can do his best to repay his supporters.
"I was just saying to one of the boys before, what I wanted to do this year is just to repay the club, the members and the fans for what had happened," he says.
"The opportunity is here to do that. I just feel lucky and appreciate to be able to play in such a big game on the back of the year I've had. I can hopefully put in one of my better performances of the year and get us through next week."