Dale Finucane joins NRL’s elite grand finals club

Rare talent: Dale Finucane, pictured in preparation for the Auckland Nines, is among an exclusive club of NRL players.

Rare talent: Dale Finucane, pictured in preparation for the Auckland Nines, is among an exclusive club of NRL players.

Dale Finucane admits he is in good company. On Sunday he will join an exclusive club of only eight current NRL players to have played in four or more grand finals. 

After defeats with Canterbury in 2012 and 2014 and last year with the Storm, Finucane is simply hoping it is his time to taste victory.

The hard-working Storm lock is, in some respects, the odd man out in a group that features some of the best players in the game. Cooper Cronk will play his seventh grand final on Sunday and Cameron Smith and Billy Slater will contest their sixth. South Sydney captain Greg Inglis has made five appearances while off-contract back-rower Ryan Hoffman and Warriors-bound front-rower Adam Blair have four. Melbourne centre Will Chambers is readying himself for a fourth start in a premiership decider. 

The common link between all these players is, of course, the Storm, but Finucane is the only one not to have played for his state or country and the only one of not to have won a grand final.

It is fair to say he is due. "I'm definitely in an exclusive club," Finucane agreed. "Obviously the guys that have been here - Cam, Cooper and Billy - have been involved in a number of grand finals and finals series for most of their career. 

"I guess I have been fortunate to be involved in three. I was lucky in my first year of NRL, I played the second half of that year and to be in the grand final was unreal. Obviously two years later, 2014, and last year with Melbourne. I'm in good company with the guys that obviously have achieved a lot at this club especially."

the 26-year-old says the Storm's knack for getting the best out of their recruits was simple.

"[It's] the fact that Craig gives individuals a role within the team, and they're quite simple roles," Finucane said. "I think if you're doing the role to the best that you can, and every individual is doing that, the team is going to go well." 

Having a trio of the standing of Smith, Slater and Cronk certainly helps.

"I'm definitely in very unique position. It's not often you've got three players of the calibre that we do have here," he said. 

"I think had Billy remained uninjured throughout the course of htis year he would have become a 300-game player this year and we'd have three one-club 300-gamers in the one team.

"The fact that we've got three such experienced players that have all played a lot of junior footy together in Brisbane as well ... it's very unique you have players who stay together for such a long period of time. I do think myself very lucky." 

The Storm will meet the Cowboys in the NRL grand final on Sunday.