Melbourne Storm today announced a new leadership structure with the appointment of Jesse Bromwich and Dale Finucane as joint vice-captains, supporting legendary skipper Cameron Smith for the 2019 NRL season.
Smith will enter his 12th season as captain – he has led the team on 243 occasions and previously co-captained with a number of players – while Kenny Bromwich and Will Chambers round out the five-man senior leadership team.
Announcing the new-look leadership structure today, coach Craig Bellamy said appointing vice-captains would ensure the club was well placed for a bright future.
“Cameron is one of the greatest leaders to have ever played the game and we have been very fortunate to have him as our captain for more than decade,” Bellamy said.
“It’s important for our club that we continue to develop leaders in our playing group and we are very lucky to have quality players on and off the field ready to step up into leadership positions within the team.
“The new leadership format allows both Jesse and Dale as vice-captains an opportunity to experience some of the responsibilities of being an NRL captain.
“At this stage it will be one of those guys who will take over from Cameron when he does retire and rather than throw them in cold turkey we wanted them to experience the extra responsibility the captaincy role entails.”
Bellamy said both Bromwich and Finucane were “highly regarded” at the club.
“Jesse and Dale have proven to be great leaders for us over several seasons and their appointment as joint vice-captains was received very well by the playing group,” he said.
“Kenny was a very popular appointment too and is a natural leader for us on the field.
“He’s come through our emerging leaders’ program along with Will, Dale and Jesse which tells us the program is working.”
Bellamy also announced the make-up of the emerging leadership group with Joe Stimson, Christian Welch, Felise Kaufusi and Sandor Earl all given responsibility for 2019.
Smith said he had discussed the appointment of vice captains and the club’s succession plan with Bellamy last season.
“It was a topic I raised with Craig last year – giving some of the other leaders an opportunity to have some experience in addressing the media and large rooms of guests at functions,” Smith said.
“Not too many guys are exposed to that – it’s really left up to the captain and coming to the end of my career I think it is really important these guys have a taste of that.”
Both Finucane, 27, and Bromwich, 29, said they felt honoured to be elevated to the dual vice-captain roles.
“We will be able to alleviate Cam from some of those off-field commitments and we will try to develop some of his traits in the next couple of years,” Finucane said.
“(Captaincy) is something you always think about but nothing you go chasing, especially when you have someone like Cameron Smith leading the club,” Bromwich said.
“It is a privilege to be named formally as vice-captain.”
The move to appoint permanent vice-captains will not only provide Smith with support on and off the field but will further develop the playing group under the guidance of leadership coach and former Collingwood premiership captain, Nick Maxwell.
“Maxi has been working really closely with our playing group and, in his fifth season, we are definitely seeing the benefits of having him around the club,” Bellamy said.
“This season, for the first time, Maxi will be working with both leadership groups rather than just the emerging leaders.”
The new leadership structure was announced to the playing group in Geelong during their annual two-week training camp.
“The players had a tough couple of weeks in Geelong which has given us a chance to review 2018 but, more importantly, look at where we are heading this season and how we want to approach the year,” Bellamy said.
“It’s been a great opportunity for us to also look closely at the leadership of the playing group and have the right mix of players and experience.”