Finucane ready for final after recovery

Back on deck: Dale Finucane is excited to contest the NRL grand final against the Penrith Panthers this weekend. Picture: Gregg Porteous / NRL Imagery.
Back on deck: Dale Finucane is excited to contest the NRL grand final against the Penrith Panthers this weekend. Picture: Gregg Porteous / NRL Imagery.

After returning to the field on the weekend for his 200th NRL appearance, Bega league export Dale Finucane is excited to be part of the grand final.

"It's obviously really exciting," Finucane said on radio this week, while acknowledging it would be a different experience this time around given the COVID-19 pandemic.

"It's a different week than we're used to in the past - we're obviously used to travelling to Sydney, but given the year it has been with covid it will look quite different."

He said there had been challenges for the Melbourne Club who will face off with the Penrith Panthers on Sunday night, but he believed experience in the ranks could have a soothing effect ahead of the clash.

The Storm had been bounced to Albury initially before shifting back to Melbourne before making a move to the Sunshine Coast for what players believed to be a two-or-three-week period.

"We've been here [Queensland] for nearly four months now, what we expected from the start of the year to now has been crazy," Finucane told the Sky presenters.

"We're in a good place up here, but it has been hard being away from family and friends, but that's probably been society, especially down in Victoria at the moment, so I definitely empathise with what people have had to go through.

"[But] we've got a number of guys who have quite a bit of experience with this [grand final] week so I guess that is something that helps in terms of being able to offer advice to the younger guys."

And while some have said Penrith's lack of grand final experience could hurt them, Finucane believes the Panthers will be up to the task.

"I don't read into that too much at all - you look at their record and the players that they have in the side," he said, citing Nathan Cleary as a beacon of the Panthers' ability.

"How composed he has been - I've been involved with him in Origin to know the type of player that he is."

Finucane said he felt better for the run over the weekend and would look at the grand final as just another game.

"I do have the same mentality or mindset of it being just another game - early on in my career I have felt real nerves, but as I got older those nerves are quite similar to any other game."

Finucane had previously told Australian Community Media he is pretty routine and even manages a nap on game day.

"It's a pretty relaxed approach, I'm fairly routine about my warm ups on game day," Finucane said with a laugh.

Despite a long layoff from a calf injury, the Melbourne Lock has also been given the nod by league icon Peter Sterling for a spot in the Origin squad.

"I'm throwing Dale Finucane in as well as a certainty," Sterlo said.

"With the way this team has been put together - there is no Paul Vaughn, no David Klemmer ... I think they will be looking to maybe push someone like a Dale Finucane."

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