Craig Bellamy has vowed he and the Storm will do “whatever we can” to keep off-contract forward Dale Finucane, while Cooper Cronk has revealed just how highly Bellamy thinks of the workhorse forward.
It’s understood several clubs are chasing Finucane’s signature, with the 29-year-old previously conceding that salary cap pressure could force him to take up a deal with a rival.
Bellamy was asked after Melbourne’s win on Saturday whether there was any update on Finucane’s future and he revealed that the club was working towards an offer for the representative forward.
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“Dale wants to know as well and we’re just trying to put an offer to him that he will hopefully accept,” he said.
“I know our recruitment guys are working really hard on that and trying to find some dollars here and dollars there just to fit into our cap.”
The Storm recently lost the signature of rising star Nicho Hynes who inked a three-year deal with the Sharks, starting in 2022. Bellamy is hopeful that the club can at least use that as an opportunity to throw more money at Finucane.
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“It probably does,” he said when asked if Hynes’ exit will help.
“I’m not sure how much we’ve saved there or can get to Dale, but you’d like to think that’s made it a better chance. As far as I’m concerned, we’ll do whatever we can to keep him because he’s such an important part of this club.”
Not much earlier in the night Finucane stood in front of the Fox League cameras donning a swollen eye and busted lip — but a smile too. It summed up the never-say-die attitude that Finucane embodies.
It’s that work ethic, along with his professionalism that Bellamy most admires.
“He’s one player I’d hate to lose,” he said.
“I just love the way he plays, he just turns up every week and puts full effort in for however long he plays. He puts his head where a lot of people wouldn’t put their foot.
“The other thing around that, what he does off the field as well. The standards that he sets in training and preparation… I don’t think I’ve ever seen anyone that prepares better than Dale Finucane.
“I’ve been in the game for a long time but I’ve never seen anyone that sets a better standard on and off the field than Dale.”
Cronk spent 13 seasons under Bellamy at the Storm and in three of those he played with Finucane so has a pretty good grasp on just how fond of Finucane the club is.
He believes Finucane’s future seems like it’s very much still up in the air but also revealed an insight into what Bellamy thinks of this season’s co-captain.
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“Reading through that press conference it looks like it’s on a dicey edge whether he stays or go,” he said.
“He would never say this, Craig Bellamy, but Dale Finucane is one of his top three favourite players of all time. Him, Ryan Hinchcliffe and Dallas Johnson. They’re the type of players… Brandon Smith… he loves that type of warhorse character that will do everything.
“Very reliable, might not be able to play x-factor type of football but you know what you’re going to get every week.
“It would be a sad day for Craig Bellamy, personally, if Dale Finucane has to leave that football club.”
Michael Ennis also had the pleasure of playing with Finucane at the Bulldogs. And it seems Finucane has always been in demand with Ennis revealing the Sharks have tried to make a play for him in the past.
“I love Dale. I was lucky enough to have him come through when I was at Canterbury. I’ll never forget when I heard there was a chance that Dale would leave Canterbury. I just couldn’t believe that they wouldn’t fight tooth and nail to keep him there,” he said.
“As Craig said, not just what he brought on the field, it’s what Dale brought off the field.
“I remember being at a training session at Cronulla and Shane Flanagan called me over midway through the session. He just said to me ‘what do you think about Finucane?’ and I said ‘mate, let’s get him’ so he said ‘righto.’
“Then within 20 minutes he came back over and said ‘no, Craig the bastard, he’s already got him.’
“To me he just epitomises everything that Craig Bellamy looks for in a footy player.”
Originally published as Gruesome NRL photo explains everything