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How Bromwich brothers became Storm's longest-serving players

After 13 years with the Storm, Kenny and Jesse Bromwich have become as inseparable as the Morris twins or the Burgess brothers but if not for a conversation with now Dragons GM of football Ben Haran they may never have had the opportunity to play together.

Haran was involved with player development for the Storm in 2008 when Kenny moved from Auckland to Melbourne with his parents, while Jesse was playing for the Orange Hawks in NSW Country Group 16 competition and working on building sites.

Kenny was a promising forward who had played alongside Kiwis centre Peta Hiku and Warrington Wolves prop Akauola Sitaleka in junior teams for Manurewa Marlins before moving to Melbourne and Haran suggested he should attend Hallam Secondary College as it had a league program

He was a member of the Storm's academy before progressing to play SG Ball, and while Jesse made his NRL debut three years earlier in 2010, Kenny is now the longest-serving Melbourne player after Cameron Smith's retirement.

Yet Jesse, who will co-captain the Storm in Saturday's preliminary final against Penrith, may never have had the chance without Kenny asking Haran if his brother could attend a training session where he impressed under 20s coach Brad Arthur.

Fast ball and fancy feet gets Jesse Bromwich over

"I have spent a lot of my life at this club and it has been a good ride so far, especially having the big bro move down and get a crack as well," Kenny said.

"We are pretty close. We pick each other every day to come to training and every time we are having a beer, we are probably having a beer together."

Haran said Kenny was a skilful young player but Jesse was bigger, older and always destined to play NRL if given the chance.

"It is a great story," Haran said. "Jesse wasn't a kid who had come through the usual path of being scouted at carnivals or anything like that. It was just by chance and a thing that his brother did for him.

"Kenny was a kid that came through our programs in Victoria. He was really competitive, really skilful and loved playing the game. It didn't matter where he was or what he was doing, he loved the contest and wherever he played you knew he would give it a red-hot crack.

"He spoke to me one day and said he had a brother who he wanted to bring to training. I think because it was Kenny, who was a real genuine style of a kid, I just said, 'yeah, bring him down'.

"There wasn't a real big playing pool in the Victorian system, so we were always looking for good kids.

"I remember I had one or two looks at him and said to Brad, 'you need to have a look at this kid'. Jesse and Kenny have both come along in leaps and bounds since then."

Kenny Bromwich continues the strong start for Melbourne

Kenny nagged his parents to begin playing when he was five years old after watching Jesse train and play but with a two-year age difference, they didn't play together until the Storm under-20s.

Unlike most of the Storm squad, Kenny wasn't recruited by the club but he  effectively landed on their doorstep looking for a chance after his family moved for employment and lifestyle opportunities.

"Growing up I always wanted to be like my old man and my big brother, so I think hanging around him and his friends – they were genuine guys and loved rugby league – kept me on the right path," Kenny said.

"A lot of things can go wrong in the area I grew up in but I think if you are getting a shove in the right direction by the right people kids in Manurewa can go some places because there is a lot of talent back there.

Finucane reflects on the season so far

"I think Jesse moved to Orange because it was a good opportunity to play and earn some decent money with a job on the side, whereas growing up in Manurewa, there weren't those opportunities.

"Once we moved to Melbourne, my old man was always in Jesse's ear about coming to stay with us, that I was doing alright and there was a good pathway at the Storm.

"Ben Haran had set some goals for me and it all started happening then for both of us. As soon as Jesse came to training, he grabbed the opportunity with both hands and hasn't looked back."

Kenny may have taken longer to force his way into the Storm's top side but he has gotten better with age and is now one of the NRL's leading second-rowers.

The 30-year-old has also assumed a leadership role with Melbourne this season after the retirement of Smith, whose departure has made him the club's longest serving player.

"I have really enjoyed the role and having a voice in some decisions, and also trying to help a lot of younger guys come through by giving them some advice or helping to direct the way we want to play on our edge," he said.

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While he is focused on overcoming the Panthers at Suncorp Stadium on Saturday, Bromwich admits the chance to create history by winning back-to-back grand finals alongside Jesse is an ambition.

"You've got to make the most of times like this because you get to live out your dream with your friends and your brother but it doesn't last forever," he said.

"I think we have given ourselves an opportunity to do something special this year and we really want to make the most of it."

 

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