TODAY |

Jesse Bromwich replacing Cameron Smith as new captain of Melbourne Storm

Such is the hole that Cameron Smith's departure leaves at the Melbourne Storm that coach Craig Bellamy felt he needed two players to cover his legendary captain.

Jesse Bromwich. Source: Photosport

The Storm announced on Friday that long-time deputies Dale Finucane and Jesse Bromwich would be co-captains for the 2021 season; the club's only captaincy change in 16 years.

While Smith is yet to publicly declare his future, it's another sign that both parties are moving on.

Although Smith did give his replacements his blessing in a phone call with Bellamy from his new Queensland home before the announcement.

Bellamy said that Smith's longevity - 358 games as captain among his 430 games - meant that no other player had had much experience leading the side.

"One thing that might be a little bit underestimated is replacing Cameron as a captain," Bellamy said on Friday

"He's been doing it for such a long time and such a great job that no-one else has really had any practice at it.

"We thought it would be the best thing for Jess and Dale to share the role and they're both really happy with it.

"While we've got great confidence in them as players and as our captain but they're going to need some help from other players and a lot of support."

Bellamy said he didn't talk with Smith about his future - now linked with Brisbane after Gold Coast bowed out of the race for his signature - and wouldn't press him.

"Cameron deserves as much time as he needs to make a decision and make an announcement and we will back him all the way," Bellamy said.

"It's looking more and more unlikely that he's going to play but I don't know so we're just trying to prepare for this season with the players we've got."

Kiwi international Bromwich, 31, made his debut for the Storm in 2010 and has played 248 matches while NSW Origin forward Finucane, 29, played his 200th NRL match in last season's finals series.

"Jess has been such an important part of our team for over a decade now and he's one of the most respected players at any club I've been involved with," Bellamy said.

"I've never seen anyone prepare for what they need to do at the weekend better than Dale.

"He doesn't take short cuts and he's fully team orientated so there's some really good leadership traits between both of them."

The pair plan to talk to Smith to help them ease into the new role.

"The position I was in, I had the best seat in the house in house in terms of his leadership," said pack leader Bromwich.

"Hopefully both of us can catch up with Smithy and talk about ways we can do that.

"It's going to be rocky at some stage but we'll work hard at it to be the best we can be for the team."