Sport Storm lose battle for in-demand skipper

09:55  25 july  2021
09:55  25 july  2021 Source:   wwos.nine.com.au

NRL premiers Storm rushed back to Qld

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Cronulla have continued their recruitment raid on the Melbourne Storm roster, signing hard-nosed forward Dale Finucane on a four-year deal.

The NSW Origin forward told his Storm teammates today he'd be leaving the club at the end of this year following seven highly successful seasons in Melbourne.

It's a massive signature for the Sharks, who were eager to lock down a tough and experienced middle forward to bolster their pack. In Finucane they've got exactly that - the 29-year-old having played over 200 NRL games, pulled on the NSW Origin jersey five times, and appearing in six grand finals in stints with Canterbury and the Storm including two premierships.

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a close up of Dale Finucane: Off-contract Storm back-rower Dale Finucane. © Getty Off-contract Storm back-rower Dale Finucane.

Finucane was in high demand, with St George Illawarra and Wests Tigers also keen to lure him away from Melbourne.

The deal is reportedly worth over $2 million and comes on the back of Cronulla signing another Storm player, utility Nicho Hynes, as incoming coach Craig Fitzgibbon looks to lift the Sharks after a number of average seasons.

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NSW Blues assistant coach Fitzgibbon has worked closely with Finucane in Origin camps over the past few years and knows intimately what the tireless forward can bring to his new side from 2021.

"Knowing Dale will be leaving at the end of the year makes this a sad day for us but one we expected," Storm general manager of football Frank Ponissi said.

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a close up of Dale Finucane making a face for the ball: Dale Finucane playing for NSW in the 2020 State of Origin decider. © Getty Dale Finucane playing for NSW in the 2020 State of Origin decider.

"True to how Dale is, he has been totally professional and open with us during these contract discussions.

"He has brought some outstanding traits to Storm, highlighted by his professionalism and leadership, and just being a good bloke who has time for everyone."

The Sharks will also welcome Dragons hooker Cameron McInnes to the club next year, while highly-rated forward Toby Rudolf re-resigned recently, as did fullback Will Kennedy, five-eighth Matt Moylan and Braydon Trindall.

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