Brydens Lawyers NSW Blues coach Brad Fittler has named forward Dale Finucane as vice-captain for Game Three of the Ampol State of Origin series at McDonald Jones Stadium in Newcastle on Wednesday 14 July.
Finucane has stepped in to assume the role after the vice-captain for the first two games, halfback Nathan Cleary, was ruled out with a shoulder injury.
Finucane has played four games for the Blues over the past two seasons and was named as part of the extended squad for Game two in Brisbane. He was again named in the extended squad for Game Three but was elevated to the starting side after prop Daniel Saifiti was ruled out with a rib injury.
Fittler said Finucane, a tough-as-teak forward and captain of the Melbourne Storm, reflected the values the team was built on, including mateship, loyalty, work ethic and discipline.
“When Nathan was ruled out the coaching staff discussed the possibility of not having a vice-captain and we thought we’d give it a day or so to decide,” Fittler said.
“It just came to us during the last camp when he was part of the extended squad that he had the best attitude.
“Then an opportunity came about for Game Three through injury and he just moved in and he’s just the perfect example of what we want our players to be. When we named him as vice-captain everyone just nodded and went, ‘That sounds right.’
“He’s captain of Melbourne now and it just proves across the board now how valuable those people are in your organisation.”
Finucane missed the start of the season with a calf injury but returned for the Storm in Round Seven and has played nine games since then. He averages 120 running metres per game and has made 205 tackles with an efficiency rate of 95 per cent.