With news coming out of yet another unfortunately disruption of Kurtley Beale’s promising but troubled career, reports now indicate that Kurtley Beale may be headed to Rugby League in 2015.
It looks as though it may be the best move for both the ARU and Kurtley himself as despite his obvious talents and ability, Beale seems to spend just as much time in the headlines for disciplinary reasons.
I won’t recount Beales off-field troubles, but rather look toward the future, and ask, would Beale cut it League, and would there be any takers?
Beale has almost 50 caps to his name, over 100 international points, and proved he can perform under great pressure.
I don’t think anyone will ever forget the 55 metre penalty goal he kicked after the siren to sink the Springboks in 2010.
He also played a crucial role in the Waratahs winning the 2014 Super Rugby Title, even laying off two tries in the final.
On ability alone, you’d have to imagine Beale would be able to make the transition to league. Whether or not he would become a star at the level he enjoys in Rugby would be up for debate, but I don’t think many would doubt he’d be a handy first grade option.
In league he would be called upon to run the ball far more often than he currently does.
The game’s best fullbacks, the position Beale will likely play should he venture into the 13-a-side game, are able to act as a third playmaker as well as defuse bombs, make tackles and make the hard yards early in the tackle count.
Beale’s obvious kicking ability both in general play and from the tee would make him an attractive option.
Jarryd Hayne’s kicking game adds a new dimension to the Eels attach should he be summoned. Arguably Beale would be amongst the better in-game kickers, certainly in terms of fullbacks.
If he were to sign relatively soon, allowing him a full offseason in the league set up, I believe he would be an attractive option to a number of NRL sides.
The Canberra Raiders may provide an attractive option for Beale. They require a fullback after losing Anthony Milford to the Broncos, and Canberra’s media isn’t as traditionally cut throat as their counterparts in Sydney.
The Raiders have plenty of money available to attract a top-class number one, however there are reports of the Green Machine offering 600,000 a year to attract Josh Hoffman.
Beale was also reported to have signed with the Waratahs to enable to him be closer to his family and therefore a better support base.
The most obvious Sydney based side is one half of this Sunday’s Grand Final showdown in the Bulldogs, who have made no secret that they’re looking for a World Class custodian.
The only problem with the Dog option is that they would surely be unable to match the monetary value that other clubs could offer.
With both the Origin halves, Josh Morris, James Graham and the like currently on the books at Belmore, the Bulldogs offer would surely be a world under what cashed up Rugby clubs around the world could offer, and probably wouldn’t even stack up against an offer from the Raiders.
The Sharks are in need a class playmaker after losing Todd Carney earlier in the season, and look as though they have a large chunk of his rumoured 600,000 a season salary available.
Beale could slot in at five-eighth or halfback in league, if he could get his body use to making 20 plus tackles a game, as he would surely be targeted if in the defensive line.
For the record, despite his off-field rap sheet, I don’t see anything there that would deny Beale from being registered.
There’s an argument to be made that the NRL may be willing to dip into its marquee fund to help finance a chase for Beale, who is an internationally marketable star.
I don’t believe this would be the case, but an argument could be made that Beale would be a marquee signing if he were to sign for either the struggling Raiders or Sharks.
There is no guarantee that Beale will be lining up in the 13-a-side game next season, but if he were to negotiate a release from his ARU contract, I have little doubt there would be more than one NRL lining up to have a chat to the enigmatic 25 year old.