Eight weeks sidelined with a calf injury has left Dale Finucane with plenty in the tank to finish off the strangest year of his NRL career.
The NSW forward is set to play his third State of Origin game just a fortnight after winning the premiership with Melbourne.
Wednesday’s clash at ANZ Stadium will be just Finucane’s third match in three months after he sustained a torn calf in mid-August and returned to action in Melbourne’s preliminary final win over Canberra.
The 29-year-old lock was left out of the Blues side that went down to Queensland in Adelaide last week, but insists he’s ready to go in Game II.
“I had that eight week period where I tore my calf and I was doing training still, a lot of weights and indoor cardio so it’s probably been a good thing if anything,” Finucane told AAP.
“Not the fact that I missed a lot of club games, but it’s given me time to freshen up a few niggles that I did have and now I’m feeling fresh coming into here.
“I’m just excited to get out there.”
Finucane has been named on the bench after Boyd Cordner and Cameron Murray were ruled out of the remainder of the series.
Finucane, Junior Paulo, Nathan Brown and Isaah Yeo make up a bench of three middle forwards and a second-rower.
It leaves coach Brad Fittler with no utility options on his interchange, but Finucane is confident it will work.
“We’ve got guys like Nathan Brown who’s got good leg speed and plays with the ball, Isaah Yeo is quite similar that he plays a lot with the ball as well,” he said.
“If we all bring our individual strengths to the side that’ll go a long way to winning the game.”
Finucane left a five-month camp on the Sunshine Coast with Melbourne to join the Blues’ bubble on the NSW Central Coast for the three-match Origin series.
This last stretch will finish off the strangest season the NRL has seen – particularly for the Storm players who have been moved from Melbourne to Albury and then the Sunshine Coast.
These final three weeks with the Blues will be without Finucane’s wife Maddelyn and son Freddy, who will be watching from their hometown of Bega.