Un­her­alded Fin­u­cane the glue that holds Bel­lamy’s top out­fit to­gether

Sunday Territorian - - NRL GRAND FINAL - TRAVIS MEYN PE­TER BADEL

MANY rugby league play­ers never get to ex­pe­ri­ence the thrill of play­ing in a grand fi­nal.

But for Mel­bourne Storm lock Dale Fin­u­cane, fea­tur­ing in the last game of the sea­son has be­come a near cer­tainty ev­ery year. Fin­u­cane will to­day take on the Syd­ney Roost­ers at ANZ Sta­dium in what will be his fifth NRL Grand Fi­nal in seven sea­sons.

Fin­u­cane played in Can­ter­bury’s 2012 and 2014 grand fi­nal los­ing teams be­fore be­ing re­leased by the Bull­dogs to join Mel­bourne, the side he has turned out for in the past two premier­ship de­ciders.

Fin­u­cane, 27, is one of the Storm’s un­sung he­roes, the glue that holds a team fea­tur­ing su­per­stars like Cameron Smith, Billy Slater and Camer- on Mun­ster to­gether. “I’ve been lucky to be in­volved in a few grand fi­nals,” Fin­u­cane said with the no-frills at­ti­tude he plays with.

For ev­ery Smith and Slater, Mel­bourne coach Craig Bel­lamy has found an un­her­alded player cru­cial to the Storm’s suc­cess.

In the past the likes of Dal­las John­son, Ryan Hinch­cliffe and Bryan Nor­rie have done the dirty work for Mel­bourne with few ac­co­lades. These days there is Fin­u­cane, Tim Glasby, Chris­tian Welch, Joe Stim­son and Kenny Bromwich among oth­ers.

They are the play­ers who are un­likely to be in con­tention for the Clive Churchill Medal tonight, but Mel­bourne would be lit­tle chance of win­ning with­out.

“I don’t think Dale would be un­der­rated by his peers,” said for­mer Queens­land Ori­gin hooker Ker­rod Wal­ters. “He is what ev­ery great team needs. In our day, it was a Gary Lar­son or a Bradley Clyde who just played for 80 min­utes and did all the tough stuff like a true pro­fes­sional.

“Fin­u­cane is ex­actly like Larso or Clyde. He is the type of player who is pre­pared to do the tough stuff that other play­ers sim­ply can’t do and the Storm have al­ways had that type of work­horse. Dal­las John­son was a great work­horse, Ryan Hinch­cliffe was an un­sung hero and now Fin­u­cane is the glue that holds the Storm team to­gether.”

De­spite Storm coach Craig Bel­lamy’s reg­u­lar pleas to NSW Ori­gin selec­tors, Fin­u­cane has never been se­lected to play for the Blues.

One player that hasn’t gone un­no­ticed is Glasby, who now has three Queens­land Ori­gin ap­pear­ances next to his name.

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