Brydens Lawyers NSW Blues coach Brad Fittler has appointed forward Dale Finucane as vice-captain for the Ampol State of Origin Series third game at McDonald Jones Stadium in Newcastle on Wednesday 14 July.
Finucane stepped in to take on the role after first-two vice-captain running back Nathan Cleary was ruled out with a shoulder injury.
Finucane has appeared in four games for the Blues in the past two seasons and has been named to the extended squad for Game 2 in Brisbane. He was named to the extended squad again for Game 3, but was elevated to the starting side after mainstay Daniel Saifiti was ruled out with a rib injury.
Fittler said Finucane, a tough striker and captain of the Melbourne Storm, reflects the values the team has been built upon, including camaraderie, loyalty, work ethic and discipline.
“When Nathan was sent off the coaching staff discussed the possibility of not having a vice-captain and we figured we would give him a day or two to decide,” Fittler said.
“It just came to us in the last camp when he was part of the extended squad that he had the best attitude.
“Then an opportunity arose for Game 3 because of an injury and he’s just moved in and he’s the perfect example of what we want our players to be. When we appointed him vice-captain, everyone nodded and said, “Sounds good. “
“He is now captain of Melbourne and it shows on every level how valuable these people are to your organization.”
Finucane missed the start of the season with a calf injury, but returned for the Storm in the seventh round and has played nine games since then. He averages 120 running meters per game and has made 205 tackles with a 95% efficiency rate.