Three years ago Dale Finucane and his girlfriend Maddie packed up their lives in Sydney and moved south.
They boarded that plane full of nerves and uncertainty, not really knowing what the next few years had in store for them.
Fast track to today, Finucane was all smiles as he announced he would be remaining for at least four more years in the city he now calls home.
The 25-year-old has grown significantly both on and off the field during the 53 games and counting he has played in the Storm jersey.
He admits the initial adjustment was not easy but he could not be happier now.
“It was difficult when I first came, I was unsure for a number of reasons. Obviously a new lifestyle and whether my partner was going to enjoy it here,” Finucane said.
“Over time we have definitely come to love Melbourne and enjoy living here. The lifestyle factor is something that has made it a bit easier for us to stay here as well.
“The caliber of players here has definitely helped, I have learned a lot off the guys that we have here. There are a lot of guys I can learn off from a playing point of view and a leadership point of view as well.”
The boy from Bega now holds Melbourne close to his heart, almost as close as the Storm faithful hold him to theirs.
Finucane is an easy player to love. Wearing his heart on his purple sleeve and giving his all for 80 minutes, every game, has seen him grow into not only a fan favourite but a coach’s favourite as well.
Craig Bellamy was full of praise for his lock, a style of player he admits are few and far between these days.
“I like the fact he has a bit of an old-school mentality, he is a team player as well, that is the number one thing I like about him,” Bellamy said.
“He is the sort of player I love coaching… everything he does is for the team. He is one of the hardest workers I have ever seen to be quite honest. He is not a 12-hour-a-day footy player, he is 24/7.
“He is just a keen footy player. Nowadays there is perhaps a higher percentage who are not as keen about their footy as we used to be. That is why I see him as old school.”