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Brenko Lee: I wear the Storm jersey with pride

When he was a kid playing junior footy for Logan Brothers, Brenko Lee had a pre-game ritual he looks back on fondly.

"My favourite memory of playing league as a kid was sleeping with my boots on the night before the game," the 24-year-old said.

"We were a very sporty, competitive household - between me and my brothers and sisters we played just about every sport there is."

Family is "first and foremost" for Lee, who was born in Brisbane to Tongan mother Aiaga and Torres Strait Islander father Lloyd and is the eldest of 12 siblings.

It makes him a perfect fit at Storm, where family is valued above all else and integral to the club's culture.

Lee scores his first try for Melbourne in our round 6 clash with the Panthers.
Lee scores his first try for Melbourne in our round 6 clash with the Panthers.

"I've been really impressed with how tight-knit this playing group is," he said in February.

Before he signed a contract with Melbourne, the NRL journeyman played 15 matches for the Raiders, 18 for Canterbury in 2017 and 20 games across two seasons with the Gold Coast Titans.

"The first thing I noticed arriving at the Storm was how hard everyone works behind the scenes - from the admin staff, to the coaches and the playing group," Lee said.

"That's what sets this club apart - the professionalism and culture here is second to none.

Everyone who steps onto the field wearing a Storm jersey has earned that privilege through hard work and they wear the jersey with pride.

Brenko Lee

For Lee, the privilege of wearing the purple jersey arrived in round 4. He has played 80 minutes in every game since, and scored his first try for Melbourne in round 6 on the back of a ripper pass from Cam Munster.

"It was a special pass from Munny, he's the sort of player who can create something out of nothing," Lee said, in typically modest fashion.

"He managed to put me through a hole and it was a pretty good try to be honest...I was pretty stoked."

The softly-spoken centre seems to have won over Craig Bellamy and is fast becoming a fan favourite. And it's no wonder - his strength and footwork make him thrilling to watch with ball in hand.

"I think I've been decent so far but I know there’s still a lot of things I can improve on and be consistent at," Lee said.

"Everyone at the club has helped in a certain way to better my game on and off the field.

I get on with Bellyache really well. He’s helped me a lot with my game in the short time that I’ve been at the club because he’s honest and upfront.

Brenko Lee

"My goals for the rest of the year are to keep improving on and off the field and be consistent in my routine to allow me to perform well."

Away from footy, the self-confessed coffee addict described his ideal day off (pre-coronavirus) as:

"Stopping at the local for a good coffee on the way to a massage, then back home to relax."

"If there was no such thing as COVID-19 I'd like to be exploring Melbourne more - I really like it here. At the moment outside of footy I'm just trying to relax mentally and physically.

"The coffee here is unreal - you can't buy a bad one anywhere, it's awesome.

"AFL is growing on me too. I think I'm going to start following Collingwood... everyone at Storm seems to go for Richmond so I thought I'd mix it up."

Brenko Lee and Chris Lewis on debut.
Brenko Lee and Chris Lewis on debut.

While he's enjoying Melbourne, Lee is unbothered about potentially playing a few home games interstate.

"It's a small price to pay really - if it allows us to keep playing footy it can only be a good thing," he said.

"It's not ideal, but if we end up based in Queensland somewhere for a while at least I'll be closer to my family.

"I haven't seen them in 6 months, so if I get the chance to visit or spend some more time with them I'll be stoked."

Acknowledgement of Country

Melbourne Storm respect and honour the Traditional Custodians of the land and pay our respects to their Elders past, present and future. We acknowledge the stories, traditions and living cultures of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples on the lands we meet, gather and play on.