Michael Burgess: Captain Bromwich the right call

Kiwis skipper Jesse Bromwich. Photo / Photosport
Kiwis skipper Jesse Bromwich. Photo / Photosport

The David Kidwell era has begun.

The new Kiwis coach has made an immediate impact with his first squad, installing Jesse Bromwich as his captain and leaving out veteran winger Manu Vatuvei.

There were few surprises in the 23-man squad yesterday, though Roosters prop Sam Moa has missed out after being a regular for Stephen Kearney over the last few years.

Bromwich captained the Kiwis in the Anzac test earlier this year, after Simon Mannering withdrew with injury. Mannering had also missed the tour of England last year through illness, with Issac Luke and Adam Blair co-captains on that trip.

Bromwich is the logical future option, though Mannering was expected by many to lead the team through to the World Cup next year.

But it's the right call, as long as it doesn't affect Bromwich's game, as he is one of the most important men in the Kiwis pack.

Bromwich has admitted in the past he is not a big talker, preferring to lead by his actions - similar to Mannering - and a few years ago would have been seen as an unlikely captain.

But the 27-year-old has developed into one of the best props in the NRL and is established in the leadership group at the Storm, held in a similar esteem in Melbourne to Cameron Smith, Cooper Cronk and Billy Slater.

He is also taking over at the right time - Mannering was 26 when he got the job from Benji Marshall - and now Bromwich gets time to develop his own style ahead of the World Cup.
And as Kidwell hinted at on Tuesday, Mannering won't exactly miss the burden of captaincy.

"Jesse did a great job leading the team earlier this year in Simon's absence and, at this stage of his career, I think Simon is just as happy not having the weight of captaincy on him," said Kidwell.

Vatuvei's absence is not a surprise, given the difficult year the Warriors winger has endured this season on and off the field. Moa has been a great servant for the Kiwis but Jared Waerea-Hargreaves has shown better form at club level this season and is a more explosive player.

It's an exciting, well balanced squad. Jordan Rapana is coming off an unbelievable season for the Raiders and the progress of Solomone Kata, David Fusitu'a, Te Maire Martin and Joseph Tapine on tour will be intriguing.

Assuming there are no further injury or surgery withdrawals, it's a much stronger Kiwis line up than the team which toured England last year, or was selected for the Anzac test in May.

- NZ Herald

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