Competition - NRL
Round - Finals Week 1
Teams – Melbourne Storm v North Queensland Cowboys
Date –    10th of September 2016
Venue – AAMI Park, Melbourne VIC
Photographer – Brett Crockford
Description –

Jesse Bromwich has been crowned Storm’s Player of the Year for a third consecutive season, edging captain Cameron Smith in a close vote count at Storm’s end of year awards ceremony on Saturday night.

The New Zealand international polled 14 votes in his first eight games before finishing on 31 to be named the Club’s best player for the 2016 season. It is yet another accolade in what has been yet another stellar season for Bromwich.

As well as being named the 2016 Dally M Prop of the Year he was handed the New Zealand captaincy in May’s Trans Tasman test and will again lead the Kiwis at the Four Nations tournament later this month.

For the second straight season Bromwich played every game in the purple jersey, extending his remarkable to 130 out of a possible 131 matches dating back to 2012. He finished the year ranked inside the top six in the NRL for total metres, runs, and offloads and reached his 150th milestone in Round 20.

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A six-time Player of the Year winner himself, Smith polled 27 votes during a season is which he led his side to the Minor Premiership and a sixth Grand Final appearance in 11 years.

The champion hooker was also Storm’s leading points scorer for an 11th consecutive year and made the most tackles, averaging just under 43 per game. His 73 tackles in the Grand Final also ranked as the third most of any player in NRL history.

Cooper Cronk was named Storm’s best back for the sixth time in his career. It was yet another incredible season for Cronk who provided 23 try assists and scored 12 tries himself, equaling his career best on the way to being named the Dally M Player of the Year for the second time in four years.

The mercurial halfback also took another step towards rugby league immortality, when he became just the 25th player to reach 300 games in Storm’s Preliminary final win over the Raiders.

Fijian Flyer Suliasi Vunivalu was named Rookie of the Year after a remarkable debut season in which he finished as the NRL’s leading try scorer with 23 tries. Cameron Munster also earned the Most Improved award for a stellar season at fullback.

The Storm NYC Thunderbolts were also in attendance on the night to receive their awards while Joe Stimson was named the inaugural Feeder Club Player of the Year following his stellar season for the Sunshine Coast Falcons.

Assistant coach Adam O’Brien was awarded the coveted Club Person of the Year while Welfare Manager Brian Phelan became an inductee as a Life Member of the Club.

Voting for Storm’s Player of the Year award takes place after each round by the coaches and players.

Final 2016 Player of the Year leaderboard

31 – J Bromwich
27 – Smith
23 – Cronk
15 – Harris / Proctor
12 – Koroibete / Finucane / Munster
8 – McLean / Chambers
6 – Vunivalu
5 – K Bromwich / Glasby
4 – Kaufusi
3 – Tonumaipea / Kennar
2 –  Asofa-Solomona
1 – Green

Other winners at the 2016 Storm Player of the Year awards were:

Rookie of the Year – Suliasi Vunivalu
Most Improved – Cameron Munster
Best Forward – Cameron Smith
Best Back – Cooper Cronk
U20s Best Forward – Lachlan Timm
U20s Best Back – Jesse Arthars
U20s Darren Bell Medal (Player of the Year) – Louis Geraghty
Greg Brentnall Young Achievers Award – Ben Nakubuwai
Feeder Club Player of the Year Award – Joe Stimson
Club Person of the Year – Adam O’Brien (assistant coach)
Life member inductees – Brian Phelan (Welfare Manager)
Suzuki Members’ Player of the Year –  Cameron Smith