New Zealand international Jesse Bromwich has claimed his first Player of the Year award after being crowned Storm’s best player in 2014 at the Club’s awards ceremony on Friday night.
Bromwich finished six votes clear of Storm halfback Cooper Cronk who finished in second place on 22 votes with captain Cameron Smith placing third on 19 after winning the award last year.
In front of 700 people at Peninsula Docklands, Head Coach Craig Bellamy presented Bromwich with the bronze trophy and medallion after a season where the 25-year old developed into on of rugby league’s premier front-rowers.
Only missing one game in the last three seasons at Club level, the front-rower has also become a regular on the international scene in Stephen Kearney’s New Zealand side.
Leading Storm in a number of categories for the season including runs made and offloads, Bromwich’s reliable ball security coupled with his brute strength continually caused havoc for opposition defences, also providing Melbourne with a cutting edge in attack.
Despite missing six matches due to injury throughout 2014, Cooper Cronk enjoyed another strong year for Melbourne, culminating in his second place finish behind Bromwich.
The halfback was at his creative and influential best in attack, finishing the season with a Club high 25 try assists from 19 games.
One of the competition’s best playmakers, Cronk finished inside the league’s top five for both try and linebreak assists, highlighting his quality with the ball in hand.
A six-time winner of the Melbourne Storm Player of the Year Award, Cameron Smith once again produced an ultra consistent season leading his side from the front in 2014.
The captain closed out the year as Melbourne’s leading points scorer, achieving the feat for the ninth time as well as becoming the greatest points scoring forward in league history on the way.
A vital cog in the Storm wheel both in defence and attack, Smith finished in the top five at the Club for try assists and try saves. Smith’s attention to detail in defence was signified in his tackle count with the number nine laying just short of 1000 tackles from 23 games.
Youngster’s Kurt Mann and Jordan McLean were also recognised on the evening for promising performances throughout the 2014 season.
Mann’s seamless transition into first-grade football saw the Winton Devils junior named the Club’s Rookie of the Year Award. McLean was named Storm’s Most Improved Player with the 23-year old missing just one game in the back half of the season, playing 12 out of Melbourne’s final 13 games.
Voting for Storm’s Player of the Year award takes place after each round by the coaches and players.
Final 2014 Player of the Year leaderboard
Jesse Bromwich 28
Cooper Cronk 22
Cameron Smith 19
Billy Slater 18
William Chambers 14
Ryan Hinchcliffe 13
Kevin Proctor 13
Ryan Hoffman 9
Mahe Fonua 8
Kurt Mann 6
Other winners at the 2014 Storm Player of the Year awards were:
Rookie of the Year – Kurt Mann
Most Improved – Jordan McLean
Best Forward – Cameron Smith
Best Back – Cooper Cronk
U20s Best Forward – Joe Stimson
U20s Best Back – Charnze Nicoll-Klokstad
U20s Darren Bell Medal (Player of the Year) – Nelson Asofa-Solomona
Greg Brentnall Young Achievers Award (SG Ball) – Charnze Nicoll-Klokstad
Clubperson of the Year – Craig Sultana (Head Trainer)
Suzuki Members’ Player of the Year – Cooper Cronk