NRL finals: Melbourne Storm still being influenced by legendary captain Cameron Smith
Melbourne Storm co-captain Dale Finucane has revealed how Cameron Smith’s influence is still guiding the club as the departing veteran sets his sights on back-to-back titles.
When Cronulla-bound Finucane took over at the start of the year with Jesse Bromwich as Melbourne co-captains he still had a lot to learn about the art of captaincy and getting the best out of different characters.
The two-time premiership winner has proven to be a quick learner and will bring his leaderships smarts to the table in the qualifying final against Manly on Friday night with Smith’s techniques now a part of his own repertoire.
“Everyone knows Cameron’s technical and tactical ability and his capacity to read the game as a captain, but on the field his calmness was valued really highly,” Finucane said.
“The way he talked to players and delivered speeches is like no other person I have seen before, and as simple as it sounds the delivery really helped us players.
“That is something I’ve learnt from and improved in my time as a captain and leader of this club, just that calmness while talking to players under fatigue.
“In the past I would have been more erratic and wouldn’t have thought as much about what I wanted to say or thought about how what I said would have impacted different players.”
If you see Finucane giving Cameron Munster a spray in the finals series, there will be method behind it.
“Munster likes a rev up. He likes you to be pretty up front with him and forward,” Finucane said.
“Nelson (Asofa-Solomona) does his own thing. He can take care of himself. Some players like to be left alone, others need a rev up. It is about knowing your players and Cameron (Smith) was very good at picking how the players like to receive their feedback.”
Whether Finucane gets to lead Munster into battle remains to be seen with the star five-eighth battling to recover from a leg wound that needed cleaning out after becoming infected.
Speaking to the club‘s website, Munster said it was a “50-50” call.
“It’s a 50-50 call between me the coaching staff and (the medical staff),” Munster said.
“We could win, open it up, have the week off and who knows, I could be back to square one.
“But if I play, open it up and we lose, then I‘ve got to try and back up the following week.”
Either way, Finucane will lead whoever takes the field for the Storm with pride and purpose. The call from Craig Bellamy at the start of the season to give him the good news about the leadership is one he will never forget.
“It was really special and I remember it vividly. I was involved in last year‘s Origin series and came back later to training, so I was sitting at lunch with a former teammate Tim Glasby when I took Craig’s call,” Finucane said.
“He told me I was going to be the co-captain with Jesse and I was really excited. Given that Cam has been that leader for such a long time, it was an honour to be filling those shoes for both of us.
“Something I have reflected on in the last couple of weeks is that my time is coming to an end at this club. It has obviously been a difficult year with the competition relocating a couple of times for our side, but I think it would be a great reward for the sacrifice that everyone has made if we can achieve the ultimate prize.
“While I have played in grand finals and finals series in recent years, you never know when it is going to be your last or when those opportunities will cease, so I don‘t think anyone will be going in half-hearted. We will embrace it and make sure we make the most of it.”
Originally published as NRL finals: Melbourne Storm still being influenced by legendary captain Cameron Smith
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