Storm star torn between mates and state

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NRL: The 360 panel discuss how Craig Bellamy continues to keep the Melbourne Storm at the top of the NRL competition.

Dale Finucane is a big reason behind Storm’s strong start to 2016. Picture: Colleen Petch.

THERE are many who believe in-form Melbourne Storm forward Dale Finucane should be running onto Suncorp Stadium in a New South Wales jersey tonight.

Instead, the hard-hitting forward will be in front of the television cheering for a Blues victory while also hoping his Storm teammates Cameron Smith and Cooper Cronk get through unscathed.

“I’m a New South Welshman, but now that I’m playing in Melbourne with so many Queensland players involved in the Maroons side it’s difficult to watch,” Finucane said

“You want those players to play well but I want NSW to win and I don’t want those guys to get injured either. It’s a bit of a tough spot.”

Finucane can consider himself unlucky to not be part of the Blues’ squad this year.

Storm coach Craig Bellamy recently said the lock forward was “made for Origin” on the back of his strong form for second-placed Melbourne.

The 24-year-old said he hoped to one day pull on the famous Blues’ jersey.

“It is obviously a goal of mine and I’d really love to represent New South Wales at some stage of my career,” Finucane said.

“All I can do is play the best football I can play and I’m sure other accolades and representative jerseys will take care of itself.”

Dale Finucane doesn’t want to see his teammates get bashed around when they line up for the Maroons. Picture: Getty Images

Dale Finucane doesn’t want to see his teammates get bashed around when they line up for the Maroons. Picture: Getty ImagesSource:Getty Images

Storm will this week be looking to bounce back from its 20-10 loss to St George Illawarra when it meets Wests Tigers at AAMI Park on Sunday.

Melbourne and the Tigers met previously in April, with Storm that day scoring a dramatic golden point win at Leichardt Oval.

Storm was depleted last round, but Smith and Cronk may play on Sunday if they pull up well from tonight’s second Origin match.

“Obviously we’ll do a lot of video analysis (on the Tigers) during the week to identify the areas where all their strike is,” Finucane said.

“But they do have strike all over the park.

“I don’t know if they start (Robbie) Farah or whether he comes off the bench, but he is a danger player and their outside backs are quite strong.”

Storm remains the best defensive side in the NRL despite leaking 20 points last round.

Finucane said his side’s strong defensive mindset is now set in stone.

“It’s something Craig (Bellamy) has instilled in the club since he has been here I think and that’s something the club prides itself on,” he said.

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