According to the TV commercial, Bega is famous for Bega Cheese.
Well you can add something else to that; Dale Funicane, who, on Sunday night will run out with the Canterbury-Bankstown Bulldogs in the 2014 Grand Final against the South Sydney Rabbitohs. Finucane is a Bega Roosters junior, a town of less than 5000, situated on the far south coast of NSW, a little over 400km from ANZ Stadium.
Finucane isn’t the only one from down that way making a name for himself: St George Illawarra Dragons NYC centre Euan Aitken played for the Pambula-Merimbula Bulldogs, a 30 minute drive from Bega, before he moved to Wollongong and has been named in the Junior Kangaroos squad. But for now, it’s all about Finucane, a 23-year old from the country, mixing it with the best on Grand Final night.
Finucane isn’t just an overnight success story he has been starring for the Bulldogs ever since he signed to play SG Ball for the club in 2009, at the age of 18. He was named SG Ball player of the year in 2009 before moving into the Bulldogs’ NYC team for three seasons between 2009-2011. He continued his great form and was named in the Toyota Cup Team of the Year in 2010 and 2011.
He joined the Bulldogs NSW Cup team in 2012 and was rewarded with and NRL debut in round 13 of that year, coincidentally against Sunday night’s opponents.
Finucane has been a mainstay of the Bulldogs’ pack over the past two seasons. He played 14 games in his debut year in 2012, played every game of 2013 and has played in 23 matches in 2014.
He made his representative debut this year, playing for Country in the annual City/Country match that was played at Caltex Park in Dubbo. If his rise through the ranks continues we could see Finucane in the sky blue of NSW and the green and gold of Australia in the nor to distant future.
Not bad for a boy from Bega.