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After an illustrious NRL career spanning 13 seasons, Sharks co-captain Dale Finucane has today announced his retirement, effective immediately.

The champion forward will finish with a tally of 251 NRL matches, two premierships and a reputation as one of the toughest and hardest-working players of his era.

Finucane confirmed at a press conference alongside head coach Craig Fitzgibbon on Tuesday that he'd been medically advised to hang up the boots due to his history of head knocks. He was contracted until the end of 2025.

"I'm announcing my medical retirement today," Finucane said to a full room including his Sharks teammates and staff.

"Over the last couple of weeks I've gone through the process of seeing a number of neurologists and neuropsychologists around the issues I've had with concussion.

"At the end of the day, there was no decision to be made. The medical advice was that I retire and don't continue to play and that was from two independent medical experts.

"I spoke with Clint Newton, (CEO) of the RLPA, around potential avenues to return to play and potentially go against that advice but at the end of the day it wasn't able to come to fruition.

"I'm obviously extremely disappointed about it but I'm excited about the next stage of life as well. It's been a stringent process to try and tick boxes to try and play but obviously it wasn't possible."

Finucane, 32, has left a lasting impact on the Sharks, having joined the club in 2022 and co-captained the team since last season. He played 33 games in black, white and blue, celebrating his 250th NRL match with a win over the Bulldogs at home in Round 2 this year.

"Dale is a revered leader and will always hold a special place in our history as Shark #549. His passion and dedication are the stuff of legend," CEO Dino Mezzatesta said.

"Whilst no longer playing, he won't be lost to the Sharks. Dale will take up a role working with the club in various capacities.

"It's a premature end to a stellar playing career, but we congratulate Dale on his plethora of achievements and wish him, his wife Maddie and children Freddy and Tommy all the very best in their next chapter."

Coach Fitzgibbon lauded Finucane's professionalism and noted the fearless lock delayed making his announcement last week because he didn't want to detract from Sam Stonestreet's debut and Braden Hamlin-Uele's 100th game against the Cowboys.

"It's one of the most significant (signings) our club will ever make," Fitzgibbon said of Finucane's recruitment, referencing his relentless intensity.

"To have players like Dale that come along that embody that team spirit and then is just a complete savage in every fashion... He's such a great man.

"Our club will never forget his time here."

Finucane grew up in Bega on the NSW south coast, being recruited by the Bulldogs in 2008 and working his way through their pathways system.

He earned his first-grade debut against the Rabbitohs in Round 13, 2012. He played in two grand finals for Canterbury before moving to the Storm in 2015.

Our team will never forget his time here.

Craig Fitzgibbon on Dale Finucane

He appeared in four more grand finals for Melbourne, winning titles against the Cowboys in 2017 and Panthers in 2020 before bringing his experience to the Sharks.

Finucane represented NSW in the State of Origin arena five times, playing a part in two series victories. He also notched up four matches for Country NSW and won a World Club Challenge for the Storm against Leeds in 2018.

His last NRL game came in Round 3 against Wests Tigers this season.

Success followed Finucane, who played in 28 finals matches and had a remarkable overall career win rate of just under 70%.

The classy Finucane paid special tribute to wife Maddie and his young family.

"She has been at the forefront of wanting to put my health first before anything else," he said.

"I've been difficult to live with over the last 13 years with all of the routines and structure I've had in my life and she's had to put up a lot with me. It's a thankless job but I'm so appreciative – all the while raising our two young boys.

"I'll be forever indebted to her and I'm excited for the next chapter of my life with my wife and two boys."

Acknowledgement of Country

Cronulla-Sutherland Sharks respect and honour the Traditional Custodians of the land and pay our respects to their Elders past, present and future. We acknowledge the stories, traditions and living cultures of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples on the lands we meet, gather and play on.

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