Four Nations a welcome focus for Storm duo after Grand Final woe

By Christopher Devine 25 October 2016 37
Four Nations a welcome focus for Storm duo after Grand Final woe

Jesse Bromwich and Cameron Smith are grateful for the opportunity to focus on the Four Nations after suffering NRL heartbreak with Melbourne Storm.

Bromwich and Smith will captain New Zealand and Australia respectively during the end-of-year international tournament, also featuring England and Scotland, which gets under way on Friday.

For both men, the event comes at a useful time, as they aim to bounce back from being part of a Storm team beaten 14-12 by Cronulla Sharks in the NRL Grand Final at the beginning of October.

"It's definitely a positive," Bromwich, who was voted the Storm's player of the season for 2016, told Omnisport at the official Four Nations launch in Liverpool.

"It's so shattering losing a Grand Final and to be able to come out here and refocus and play for your country ... it just takes the pain away from losing Grand Finals."

"I've moved on fairly quickly and I know a few of the boys back in Melbourne are still hurting so we're very lucky we've got this."

Melbourne skipper Smith added: "If we didn't have any games after the Grand Final it would have been a pretty long off-season, because all you ever think about is the last game that you played until you get to play your next game.

"We moved on quite quickly - it was seven days until we had to go back into camp and prepare for that Test match [between Australia and New Zealand] over in Perth. It was nice to move on."

Although the Storm ultimately fell agonisingly short of securing a first NRL title since 2012, Smith is proud of his side's efforts.

"The goal is always to win the premiership, but I think to make the Grand Final in the circumstances we did was quite a successful season for us," he explained.

"We lost nearly our entire starting backline in the first six weeks. We had a lot of young guys introduced into our team, a lot of debutants, but I think we unearthed a couple of superstars in the making.

"Suliasi Vunivalu was on the wing, the flying Fijian. He finished the season as the top try-scorer [alongside Canberra Raiders wing Jordan Rapana], that's an incredible feat for a guy in his rookie season.

"I was really proud of the way our squad and particularly our young guys approached this year, starting with our pre-season and the work they put in there, and obviously the coaching job that Craig Bellamy and his assistants, Adam O'Brien and Jason Ryles, did. They were fantastic and gave our side an opportunity to do what we did this year.

"Unfortunately we fell one short, but that's footy sometimes. We'll get back next year, work hard and hopefully be there again."

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Christopher Devine