Melbourne Storm coach Craig Bellamy declared his admiration and gratitude for Dale Finucane who signed on for a further four years, helping the club avoid "disaster".
Following Jordan McClean's announcement to leave the club for North Queensland – in addition to the exits of Kevin Proctor and soon-to-be-departing Tohu Harris – Finucane's new deal was thrilling news to Bellamy who admitted he was always enamored with the talented forward before he came to Melbourne in 2015.
"Dale is different to most players," Bellamy said. "I remember watching him at the Bulldogs and wanting him at our club. We're very grateful he's decided to stay.
"We were always a bit worried (about losing players), especially after we built such a strong pack last year. All of a sudden we lost Proctor, Tohu than Jordan. They're all big losses to us. To lose Dale on top of that would have been disastrous."
Finucane deciding to stay despite key departures and the impending retirement of Cooper Cronk, Billy Slater and Cameron Smith resonated with Bellamy.
Bellamy is enthralled with Finucane's old-school mentality and how much it means to the club after two seasons in Storm colours.
"It really stings to lose Jordan, the same as Kevin and Tohu. They've been here as 14, 15-year-olds signed as scholarship players. Especially with Jordan, he's been through a fair bit. The club's supported him through all those things. It makes the bond tighter you would think.
"In the end, they make a decision that's best for them.
"There seems to be more movement than ever in the game.
"Dale's important now but when those three (Slater, Cronk and Smith finish), he'll be taking up the slack with his leadership qualities.
"One thing I remember when we tried to get him the first or second time, he wanted a leadership role. He was a couple of years younger but some guys don't want the leadership role. I didn't find (it) strange but it doesn't happen too often for young players to ask you for a leadership position."
Hearing Bellamy's appreciation for the 25-year-old, and how much his work ethic and team-first mentality means to the club after only 53 games, makes you wonder if the move south should've happened earlier for the New South Welshman.
"It's very humbling to hear Craig say all these nice things about me," Finucane said. "I was very close to coming at a younger age. There were only a couple of reasons it didn't work out but I'm happy to be staying on for another four years.
"It was difficult when I first came, I was unsure for a number of different reasons. Lifestyle, whether my partner was going to enjoy it here, but over time we have come to love Melbourne and enjoy living here."
If it wasn't obvious how delighted the notoriously hard-lined coach was with Finucane staying put in Melbourne, Bellamy shared how much he relishes coaching him and hopes he finally earns Origin selection for NSW this year.
"He's an Origin player and there's no reason he won't go on to be an Origin player," Bellamy said. "He's not just a 12-hour worker. He's a 24/7 player.
"He just works hard in every area.
"There's a higher percentage now of players who aren't as keen on their footy as they used to be but that's why I see him as old school. He doesn't say a whole lot at times but just watching him do what he does, they're the sort of leaders you want.
"I could keep talking (about him) if you like. He's the sort of player I like coaching."
 Finucane Dale - Storm