Dale Finucane.
Dale Finucane.

The Maroons coach behind the rise of Blues rookie Finucane

NSW debutant Dale Finucane has credited part of his rise to the man the Blues are accusing of being responsible for spoiling tactics in State of Origin I.

The Blues are reportedly furious with a number of tackles from their game-one defeat, prompting coach Brad Fittler to raise the issue with officials this week.

It comes after revelations Queensland this year employed wrestling coach John Donahue, who has worked with Melbourne for the best part of 30 years.

 

Dale Finucane will make his debut for NSW.
Dale Finucane will make his debut for NSW.

Finucane will make his first Origin appearance off the bench in Perth on Sunday, and paid tribute to Donahue's influence since he joined the club in 2015.

"He's someone that's worked with Melbourne Storm for nearly as long as (coach) Craig Bellamy's been there," Finucane said.

"The Melbourne Storm have had a lot of success since they first come in in 1998. I think he's been a big part of the success that the club has had.

"So it's not just over my time, but over a long period of time."

Finucane said that while wrestling has long been part of the game, he was unsure how much of an impact Donahue would have over the short Origin build-up.

"Joe's trained in jiu jitsu, and he's been a part of rugby league for so long now that he's been able to adapt his skills to develop our game," Finucane said.

"That's one of his real strengths. He's learned our game so well that he can impart his knowledge into specific areas of our game.

"I've done jiu jitsu in the past, but I've gotten choked out by too many black belts.

"These days every team's got a wrestling coach, but I reckon it'd be hard to develop those skills and learn over one week."

Dale Finucane, Paul Vaughan and Damien Cook during Blues training.
Dale Finucane, Paul Vaughan and Damien Cook during Blues training.

It was reported the Blues were particularly scathing of a tackle by the Storm's Felise Kaufusi on Paul Vaughan early in Brisbane that included his arm wrapping around the prop's head.

Vaughan struggled to remember the tackle, but did admit the opening exchanges of an Origin game were about seeing how lenient the wrestle would be officiated.

"That's just footy. You see what you can do in the ruck and how much leniency you have. It's Origin, it's always going to be a tough game," he said.

"Your first involvement in the game sets the tone for the remainder of the game. Whether you get your first touch or your first tackle, you want to make it quality.

"There's not too many penalties blown in Origin. They're a bit more lenient."

News Corp Australia


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