I would have been 12 at the time, my first year of High School.

There would have been about 200 students, teachers and parents at our usual school assembly.

I was nervous considering it was the first time playing in front of so many people.

Growing up, I always loved music and singing. Dad would play the guitar so I learned off him, and then obviously I had the opportunity to play an instrument in music class so I continued right throughout high school.

It has been a long time since I performed in front of as large an audience as the one from Year 7, although I’ve since played at a couple of pubs across Melbourne in recent times.

Dale Finucane

Similar to footy, once you get on the field, the nerves begin to settle.

The other day I had the chance to perform on stage at our club function. I definitely got a big kick out of that.

Funnily, I’d only prepared to play three or five songs as originally I was only to play for 15 minutes.

But I ended up staying on stage for a much longer period of time, as I was really enjoying myself. Despite only the having the handful of songs in my arsenal, I just read most of the other songs from an iPad!

I’ve always thought it’s important to have outlets away from footy.

Dale Finucane

While music provides me with joy and happiness, completing my Bachelors in Health and Movement has definitely given me the confidence to secure my future.

I’ve chosen extend my degree out to include PE teaching.

Eight years ago, when I started, I remember talking to welfare staff and NRL advocates. and them saying, “If you can stay on track with your university degree, you’ll enjoy a much better footy career in reflection”.

The confidence I have from knowing I am nearing towards the end of my degree is actually making me enjoy my footy a whole lot more.

When I’d made it into the NRL squad early in my career, I was slowly transitioning back into two subjects.

Once I was included in the NRL top 25- instead I dropped down to 1-2 subjects a semester and that’s where it’s been since.

I kept persevering with it.

I’ll be 27 at the end of the year, so I’ve still got a bit of time to go in the sports field, but deciding now what I want to do for life after football has always been important.

We bought a block of land between Bega and Tathra so we’ll build on that probably at a time when it’s looking like I’ll retire, but yeah, when I do go back home, I know I’ll be able to do so with a clear mind.