Jesse Bromwich came out of the Manurewa Marlins club to become recognised as one of world’s best props, a three-time premiership winner with Melbourne Storm and a New Zealand Test captain.
An Auckland and New Zealand Māori age-group rep, Bromwich’s family moved to Australia and he gained a further rugby league education with NSW Country Group 10 club Orange Hawks. The Storm recognised the tyro’s potential and brought him to Melbourne, featuring prominently in the club’s 2009 NYC premiership success.
The 20-year-old made his NRL debut for the defending champs early the following season, before becoming firmly established in the Storm’s front-row in 2011. A midyear Test debut against Australia and a grand final winner’s ring followed in 2012 for Bromwich, whose reputation was beginning to match his imposing frame.
Bromwich featured in New Zealand’s 2013 Rugby League World Cup campaign, 2014 Four Nations triumph, and the Anzac Test victory and tour of England in 2015. He then took over as Kiwi captain for the 2016 Anzac Test, coinciding with younger brother and Storm teammate Kenny’s international debut.
Mobile and athletic to complement his size, the 27-year-old was named Dally M Prop of the Year and helped Melbourne to another grand final appearance in 2016 – a loss to Cronulla – before leading the Kiwis in all five post-season Tests. Bromwich was named the Kiwis’ Player of the Year in 2015 and ’16.
From his debut to the 2017 Anzac Test, Bromwich played 24 of a possible 25 Tests (he missed only a 2013 RLWC pool game against France). But the skipper, along with ex-Storm teammate Kevin Proctor, was stood down by the New Zealand Rugby League following an off-field incident in Canberra after the 30-12 loss to Australia, ruling him out of the Kiwis’ World Cup campaign. Bromwich tempered that disappointment by playing a leading role in a second Storm premiership triumph.
Bromwich achieved the 200-game milestone with the Storm in 2018, before enduring grand final defeat to the Roosters. Unavailable for the Denver Test, he returned to the Kiwis fold for the post-season win over the Kangaroos at Mt Smart and played all three Tests on the tour of England, scoring his third Test try in the 34-0 victory in the third encounter.
The veteran turned out for New Zealand in the 2019 mid-season defeat of Tonga, but – despite playing every game for Melbourne, his ninth consecutive season racking up 20-plus appearances (and seventh straight averaging more than 120 metres per game) – injury ruled him out of the Kiwis’ end-of-year schedule.
A Māori All Stars rep against Indigenous All Stars in 2019-20, Bromwich played 19 of the Storm’s 22 games as COVID-19 forced to team to base itself in Queensland for most of 2020. The 31-year-old received his third NRL premiership ring after Melbourne’s 26-20 grand final victory over Penrith.
Bromwich assumed the Melbourne captaincy in 2021 following Cameron Smith’s retirement, leading the club to the minor premiership and a preliminary final appearance. The veteran also became the Storm’s sixth 250-game player in another ultra-consistent campaign – his eighth in a row averaging over 100 running metres per game. The 29-Test Kiwi was named in the wider squad for the World Cup at the end of the season.
Bromwich has played 27 NRL finals matches, a record for a New Zealander that stands six clear of Nathan Cayless, Steve Matai and brother Kenny.