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Dale Finucane on what Richie McCaw taught him about big games – and how he will pass that onto the Sharks

Dale Finucane has spoken about a meeting that the Melbourne Storm held with All Blacks legend Richie McCaw ahead of the 2017 NRL Grand Final that changed his outlook on big games.

Speaking on James Graham’s The Bye Round podcast, Finucane said that he had barely any memories of his involvement in showpiece events – including those played alongside Graham – but was advised by the rugby union legend to drink in experiences.

“It’s interesting,” said Finucane. “The first two Grand Finals I was involved in at the Bulldogs in 2012 and 2014, I don’t actually have a lot of memory of the game and the week around it. That’s one of the biggest things that I regret: not embracing and remembering what happened.

“I remember in 2017, we had Richie McCaw, the All Blacks captain, come in and spoke to our group. One of his bits of advice before we played that 2017 Grand Final was to actually take it in, open your eyes and when you’re in a stadium with 80,000 people, look around.

“I feel like I was always very tunnel vision and didn’t really focus on anything outside of what the job was, but I really enjoyed and embraced looking around and doing that.”

Finucane added that he would be passing on the advice to his Sharks teammates ahead of their finals campaign.

He is one of the few members in their squad to have featured in a Grand Final: Nicho Hynes was an unused sub in 2019 and played in 2020, Aiden Tolman played as long ago as the 2009 finale while Andrew Fifita and Wade Graham remain from the Sharks 2016 victory.

“That would be a piece of advice I would give moving into the finals series,” he said. “I don’t have a lot of memories of those games and the time around it, but since 2017, I’ve been mindful to do that.

“It doesn’t hurt to offer up that advice, and the fact that I’ve experienced finals, been involved with Grand Finals at the Bulldogs and at Melbourne Storm.

“If any experiences that I’ve had can be shared onto some younger guys, that’s something that I’d be more than willing to do.”

England legend James Graham chats to Mike Meehall Wood for our new Rugby League World Cup podcast, running through the host’s chances of lifting the trophy.


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