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Jesse Bromwich is proof that we don’t always get it right when it comes to defining what makes a marquee player in sport.

That term is derived from the Hollywood-style names that used to adorn cinemas and theatres to grab people’s attention and lure them inside. It’s the type of stuff a no-nonsense prop from south Auckland has little hope of ever living up to.

But what he lacks in ability to draw a crowd – or in most cases even be noticed in one – Jesse makes up for with his knack for attracting people that do have star power.

In that way he has been the marquee player for a Dolphins club who have been accused of failing to sign one so far.

“We will be indebted to Jesse forever,” Dolphins CEO Terry Reader tells

“The first thing Wayne [Bennett] said to me and Peter O’Sullivan when we hung up from talking to Jesse when we were recruiting him was ‘there’s our captain, boys’.

That legacy continues to grow now in season 15, which Jesse says will definitely be his last, and as of this Friday night it’ll include achieving something nobody in the game’s 116-year history has ever done before – starting 300 games at prop.

Through the opening 12 games of his NRL career, all of which began from the bench, Jesse used to watch players like Brett White, Adam Blair and Jeff Lima excel in the aggression and energy of the opening exchanges.

He was happy just to be playing, but being a passenger for the first 20 minutes didn’t feel right.

“I used to burn up so much energy sitting there. Up and pacing around, just wanting to get out there, and I always thought ‘man, it’d be good to start, just to get out there and straight into it’,” Jesse says.

Since then he’s managed to do it more than any other front-rower in the history game, with Friday night’s encounter against the Eels at TIO Stadium in Darwin marking his 300th starting appearance at prop in the NRL.

While the hunger was always there, Jesse credits the nine weeks he spent in camp with the Kiwis back at the 2013 World Cup – in a forward group that included players like Simon Mannering – for making him embrace what it was to lead from the front from the very first minute every week.

In the 238 club games he’s played since that tournament, he’s failed to start just twice.

Having watched the now 34-year-old all the way through his career, former Storm assistant and long-time Kiwis coach Michael Maguire says what makes him such a great starting prop is simple.

“You always know what you’ll get from Jesse and that he can handle all the intensities from the start,” Maguire says.

“You know that the first 20 minutes, especially in a Test match, will be flat out and intense and you know Jesse can handle those moments.”

Growing up Jesse got used to being knocked back by Auckland rep selectors, who with the exception of his final year at high school, knocked him back for every age-group team.

On one particular occasion when Jesse was 16, his dad Mike decided enough was enough and took matters into his own hands.

“They had four different games at this trial day and they wouldn’t even give him a run. He was pretty disheartened,” Mike says.

“Straight after that I signed him up at the gym. I’d get him up at 5.30 in the morning, every day I’d drag him and Kenny out of bed, no mucking around.

“The next year Jesse went back and he was killing it, it made all the difference.”

With nothing much happening in rugby league at home, Jesse headed to Orange, New South Wales after high school seeking better work opportunities and to play in the Group 10 competition.

A move to Melbourne to join the rest of his family, who had relocated for Mike’s work, ended up putting him in front of Storm selectors, thanks to a request from Kenny, who already been signed at this stage, to let his brother come and train.

In a somewhat cruel twist of fate at the time Jesse ended up taking the U-20 spot Melbourne had reserved for his younger brother in 2009, and while it delayed Kenny’s advancement by another 12 months, it also marked the emergence of Jesse as an NRL prospect and he never looked back.

At every step since he’s approached rugby league in a way that reflects his working-class roots.

Growing up in south Auckland, both he and Kenny saw their parents work hard – Mike laying drains and later working in an aluminum factory and Alex making a living at a local food distribution plant.

The family unit was and still is incredibly tight, evidenced by both boys insisting on playing together throughout their career and the decision of their parents, along with sister Paula, to relocate to Brisbane from Melbourne in order to be closer to them in recent times.

Cowboys prop Jordan McLean, who spent five seasons playing alongside Jesse and Kenny at the Storm, says those factors helped create dream teammates who have no ego, and he believes it’s a big reason why Jesse has become such a sought-after leader.

“The way he got into an NRL system is not the normal way of getting into a team, so he’s always been very humble in his approach to it,” McLean says.

“If something needs to be done he puts his hand up.

“He’s from humble beginnings and comes from a hard-working family, he’s been brought up well by his old boy and old girl.”

“In a way I’m a bit happy that he’s finishing,” Mike tells when asked about his oldest boys’ looming retirement.

“It’s been a real long journey, we’ve been through so much, and I think Jesse is ready to finish.

There will be plenty of special occasions to mark over the next five months or so before the boots are hung up, including a Round 25 return to Melbourne.

But at the top of that list will be the final game on New Zealand soil for the Bromwich brothers together, which barring a finals match-up against the Warriors on that side of the Tasman, will come in Round 12.

It has always been a special trip for the proud Kiwis and a chance to celebrate with their whānau (family) still living in New Zealand.

“Every time they run out in games against the Warriors it brings a tear to my eye,” Mike says.

“It’s definitely always been special for them to play in New Zealand. To catch up with the old coaches and some of their friends, it means a lot to them, they still love the place.

“It’ll be an emotional one to watch for the last time.”

But first, there’s a more memories and history to be made.