Finch wary of Rhinos threat

  • Last Updated: December 10 2012, 16:35 GMT

Former Wigan stand-off Brett Finch has plenty to tell Melbourne Storm coach Craig Bellamy about World Club Challenge opponents Leeds Rhinos.

Brett Finch: Knowledge of the Rhinos team
Brett Finch: Knowledge of the Rhinos team

Melbourne, the Australian champions, tackle the Super League Grand Final winners at Headingley on February 22 and Finch, who has rejoined the Storm after spending the past two seasons at Wigan, admitted the Rhinos will be tough opponents.

"The nucleus of the team has been there for quite a while," Finch told reporters ahead of Storm's first training session in Melbourne.

"They have plenty of experienced players who have had plenty of success at that level."

While the Melbourne club's big three of Cameron Smith, Billy Slater and Cooper Cronk were absent and will not re-start training until early January, Finch knows better than most what makes the Yorkshire side tick.

The 31-year-old, who won the 2009 NRL Grand Final with the Storm before the club was stripped of the title for salary cap breaches, has returned to the club on a one-year contract after a stint with Wigan, whom he helped to a 28-18 win over the Rhinos in the 2011 Challenge Cup final at Wembley.

Finch, who intends to see out the rest of his career in Melbourne, said he was offered more financially attractive deals from other NRL clubs but the opportunity to become reunited with Bellamy was too hard to turn down.

"There were a few other offers but I think if I was going to come back from England it was going to be back to Melbourne," Finch said.

"Obviously career-wise there were probably better opportunities at other clubs in terms of the financial situation but I just wanted to be back a part of the club.

"It's a different role to what I've experienced in the past but I'm just happy to contribute where the club sees fit."

Finch added that premiership-winning coach Bellamy, who is out of contract at the end of next season, was a huge part of his decision to return to AAMI Park.

"You see what he does for so many players' careers," Finch added. "And all different situations - young guys and old guys at different stages of their career - he always seems to get the best out of players.

"He did that for me last time I was here so I certainly hope he stays at the club for as long as possible."

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