Scouting Stories: Dale Finucane

If you needed to build the perfect rugby league player Dale Finucane would probably be it.

Tough, uncompromising, fearless on the field yet a genuine person off it.

That is why it was seemingly a gift from above when Storm officials took a call from Finucane's agent at the end of the 2014 season.

The then 23-year-old was fresh off playing his second Grand Final in three years for the Bulldogs but had spent the first 66 games of his career coming predominantly off the bench.

A competitive beast such as Finucane was determined to taste more first grade action.

"(The Bulldogs) were willing to let him go because he was looking to get run-on time," Storm Recruitment Manager Paul Bunn said.

"He was coming off the bench for the Dogs and he really thought that his opportunity to be a run on player would be at Storm, that is why they contacted us."

So negotiations got underway over that summer.

There was plenty of back and forth, as there is often is with these things, but the signature was secured by Christmas.

The timing was fitting because Storm officials finally had a man who ticked every box on their wish list.

"He is a country kid, a true gentleman, an ultimate professional, why would you not have him at your Club?" Bunn said.

"I loved the way he played coming up (through juniors). He knew how to scrap and have a real go, that is what I liked about him. Everyone you met would just say how good a kid he was."

What adds to Finucane's charm is the fact he has more than just one string to his bow.

Storm fans know him largely as the accomplished, Premiership-winning footballer and arguably the toughest player in the competition.

However there is much more to Finucane than meets the eye. The hard man is also an accomplished surfer, talented guitarist and a great singer.

In Bunn's words - "They don't often come around like that"

Having hobbies outside of football may seem like a trivial thing but scouts play a lot closer attention to that side of a player than fans might think.

"It is very important," Bunn said.

"If they've got hobbies and other outside interests, they can shift their focus and not get stressed about their footy all of the time.

"Otherwise they sit around and X-Box. It is proven that kids who sit around playing that stuff hour after hour, it stuffs them around. You only need to read about the findings and the studies into how it detracts away from your performance."

Finucane is now a member of the senior leadership group and is signed in Melbourne until at least the end of the 2021 season.

It is no secret that he is one of the players in line to inherit the baton of leadership at Melbourne Storm sooner rather than later.

That leaves the Club in a strong position moving forward.

"Dale is old school, Craig Bellamy-style and has leadership qualities too, he is a leader of men," Bunn said.

"I hope he is a torch bearer for us, I'd imaging the coaches would think that too. I am surprised he hasn't tasted more rep footy in the Origin arena.

"If he was a Queenslander he would be in that side, he is built for it."