STILL LEADERSHIP MATERIAL: Sacked New Zealand captain Jesse Bromwich (right) is a chance to replace Cameron Smith (left) as the Melbourne Storm's leader despite his suspension.
STILL LEADERSHIP MATERIAL: Sacked New Zealand captain Jesse Bromwich (right) is a chance to replace Cameron Smith (left) as the Melbourne Storm's leader despite his suspension. TONY MCDONOUGH

Bromwich can fight way back to be Storm captain

SUSPENDED Melbourne Storm prop Jesse Bromwich could still be the club's next captain despite being dumped for allegedly taking an illegal substance in Canberra last weekend.

Bromwich lost the New Zealand captaincy, won't be picked for this year's World Cup and copped a two-game club ban after allegedly snorting lines of cocaine off a dealer's phone outside a nightclub in Canberra following the ANZAC Test.

Storm coach Craig Bellamy said his star prop had made a "big, big mistake”, one that shocked everyone at the club given Bromwich's cleanskin history and his standing in Melbourne.

But Bellamy also said that no one was "looking down their nose” at Bromwich, who has played 164 games with Storm, having been with Melbourne since he was a teenager, and he there was "no doubt” he would work his way back too the club's leadership group.

"He's done a lot of great things for this club over a long period of time and he's made a mistake, and I repeat it's a big mistake, but we are going to support him. He's one of us, and he'll always be one of us,” Bellamy said.

"The guy that he is, and when I spoke to him on Saturday, it was a shock to him. But he never one tried to blame anyone else. He just said "I've done the wrong thing . I'll accept whatever comes my way”.

"And some of the penalties were harsh, missing out on a World Cup is a big one, losing the (New Zealand) captaincy is a big one. He's hurting and we are hurting for him as well.

"But I don't see Jesse's standing in the game, or his standing at our club, has eroded one bit from this.

"We all make mistakes ... this one's a big one. But he's earned a lot of brownie points here, and playing with New Zealand.

"Not once has he been in any strife. His behaviour has been exemplary for 12 years. If I was picking the next captain here, if Cameron Smith retired tomorrow, you would probably be looking at Jess Bromwich.”

Bromwich returned to training on Thursday but is said to be in "no shape” to play and won't return until round 13 at the earliest, following his two week suspension and Storm's a bye in round 12



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