Storm blow that’d leave Bellamy ‘devastated’

Storm coach Craig Bellamy says he’s never had “a more enjoyable player to coach” than Dale Finucane and says he would be “devastated” if the off-contract back-rower left the club.

Bellamy’s heartfelt words followed Melbourne’s 48-4 drubbing of Newcastle on the Gold Coast tonight, in which Finucane failed a head injury assessment after leaving the field in the 30th minute.

Finucane, who’s played 146 games with Melbourne since crossing from Canterbury ahead of season 2015, has been in contract talks with several clubs.

Bellamy reiterated tonight why he wished for the NSW State of Origin workhorse and Melbourne co-captain to prolong his career at the Storm.

“We want him to stay. I don’t think I’ve ever coached a more enjoyable player to coach, to be quite honest with you. He’s that diligent in what he does,” Bellamy said in his post-match press conference.

“He’s one of those blokes you’ve got to hold back. You’ve got to put the reins on him and pull the reins back; you don’t have to get the whip out on him at any stage. And that’s what we love about him, whether it be in preparation or whether it be in the game.

“I’ll be devastated (if Finucane leaves the Storm).

“But … Dale has to make a decision and I know it’ll be the right decision for him and his family, and I’ll support that all the way, too.

“But I just hope he ends up in purple again next year.”

Finucane is one of several injury concerns following the Storm’s dominance of the Knights.

Bellamy said he didn’t expect Finucane to be fit for when his side suits up next Friday.

Halfback Jahrome Hughes also suffered what Bellamy believed to be a corked calf, while winger George Jennings is set for a lengthy stint on the sideline after succumbing to a knee injury.

But no one could have picked the injury issues by the mood among the Melbourne outfit following the game against Newcastle.

This is a side that’s won 14 games in succession, has a record of 15-2 this season and which tonight broke the record for most points scored in the first 17 games of a premiership campaign.

Melbourne’s 632 points scored this season eclipses the previous record of Eastern Suburbs in 1935.

The Storm have also notched 40 points or more in 11 of their games this season, which is a record in itself.

The Cowboys now face the unenviable task of meeting this almighty force.

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