A happy Kurtley is a happy Australia

The Insider Roar Rookie

By The Insider, The Insider is a Roar Rookie

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    Kurtley Beale of the Melbourne Rebels looks to offload the football. (Photo: Paul Barkley/LookPro)

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    His current hand injury notwithstanding, hasn’t it been great to see Kurtley Beale running around this year with a smile on his face?

    Sure, it hasn’t all been plain sailing for Kurtley and his Melbourne Rebels comrades this season in Super Rugby.

    Beale’s dodgy shoulder will remain a bit of an issue even after repairs on his hand, but compared to this time last year – when his body shape was closer to that of a forward than a spring-heeled back – Kurtley is absolutely flying!

    While he’s always been a talent, and a highly coveted one at that, Kurtley has learnt since he reached the representative level that talent will only get you so far.

    The rest is down to hard work and a good support network, as no one can succeed on their own in what is a team game. A little bit of luck along the way also helps.

    It was unfortunate, but probably inevitable, that ‘KB’ was built up to be the next big thing when he emerged from stardom out of the schoolboys ranks at St Joseph’s.

    The Waratahs were desperately crying out for a new backline starlet – they still probably are – and that desperation did the young Kurtley no favours.

    There was some good stuff in his early days, enough to convince many the kid could go on to be something special; but those off field issues (you know the ones!) just haven’t seemed to have gone away.

    Touch wood for this year, so far!

    Team-mates have come to learn they need to keep an eye on Kurtley off the field. To help him out, and stick close by him in social circles, especially after games.

    It’s not a chore: he’s good company, so he’s a guy you want to spend time with.

    It’s more just a case of keeping a collective eye on his well-being to ensure he either isn’t leading, or just as importantly, being led astray – which is something that happens to sportsmen and women far more often than the public ever finds out about.

    Kurtley also needs to be encouraged.

    ‘KB’ responds best when backed to have a go, and play it the way he wants to, as opposed to being reined in by pre-determined tactics and game plans.

    This is probably why Kurtley has really come on as a player since he was moved to fullback a couple of years back.

    Playing at the back gave him a license to have a go. It has also clearly helped with his vision, in terms of how to run a game.

    Having such a close up view of how the game unfolds, while being able to choose his moments to get involved, has ‘tidied up’ the organisational side of Kurtley’s game.

    He’s now a real leader, both on the field, but also in pre-game discussions the media and public don’t get to see; both sussing out how we want to play, but also in terms of isolating the areas of opportunity we might have as far as exposing the other side.

    You only have to look at how he controlled so totally the Wallabies’ win at Twickenham last year, playing field position superbly to shut the Poms out, to see how far he’s come.

    And in such a short time.

    Think back to the mid-year Bledisloe Test at Homebush, where he had a shocker.

    As can sometimes be the case with Kurtley, there was a fair bit going on in his life off the field at the stage.

    Being let down by a couple of key people in his life around then didn’t help either.

    It was noticeable in the back half of the year that when he got away from them, Kurtley was an almost different player, and person.

    He mixed more within the team, appeared to be more relaxed almost all of the time, and won over even the harshest sceptics (and there were a few).

    In many ways, he symbolised the Wallaby season as a whole: a flat patch against the All Blacks, followed by a steady improvement and a good finish, with just two losses from the last nine played.

    Be it team-mate, or foe, Kurtley is widely respected in the Australian game, both for his skills, but also as a bloke.

    He is genuine, enthusiastic and one of the best athletes in the game when he looks after himself – which he seems to be getting better at.

    That’s why it has been so good to see him running around, confidently strutting his stuff – and with a big smile on his dial – this year.

    Long may it continue.

    Australian (and world rugby for that matter) can only be the better for it.

    The Outsider was, in a previous life, an Insider with connections to the Australian Rugby Union. Shhh, no names! But we will give you one clue; he once wrote under the pseudonym 'The Insider'. We hope you enjoy the unique insights you'll be reading in this column.

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    The Crowd Says (29)

    • March 11th 2013 @ 9:27am
      Chris of Vic said | March 11th 2013 @ 9:27am | ! Report

      Thanks Insider, loving this column.

      It seems that those who let him down last year (in Brisbane) have a ‘toxic’ affect all of their own. Hope you all continue to stick together, it can only help the team.

    • March 11th 2013 @ 9:27am
      Harry said | March 11th 2013 @ 9:27am | ! Report

      Yes, its good to see.
      I accept the young man may have had personal troubles, but for a guy being paid the best part of a million dollars a year he presented himself in a disgraceful state for the opening Bledisloe last year.
      Hoefully he will have the appropiate guidance and support, and most importantly, self discipline, to prevent his occuring again, and he can play at his world class best.

      • March 11th 2013 @ 9:48am
        Kane said | March 11th 2013 @ 9:48am | ! Report

        Some blame needs to be placed on the selectors for letting him get away with being overweight by selecting him to play

        • March 11th 2013 @ 10:06am
          Justin2 said | March 11th 2013 @ 10:06am | ! Report

          Yep, 100% but also Beale needs to take full responsibility for his fitness, no one else.

    • March 11th 2013 @ 9:35am
      formeropenside said | March 11th 2013 @ 9:35am | ! Report

      Is there a point to this other than an attempt to lure Beale back to the Tahs on the basis its all different there now?

      • Roar Guru

        March 11th 2013 @ 9:36am
        Jiggles said | March 11th 2013 @ 9:36am | ! Report

        Things are different at the Tahs?

        • March 11th 2013 @ 9:44am
          Red Kev said | March 11th 2013 @ 9:44am | ! Report

          Yeah, they’ve changed scapegoats this year

          • March 11th 2013 @ 9:51am
            Chris of Vic said | March 11th 2013 @ 9:51am | ! Report


          • March 11th 2013 @ 10:24am
            Harry said | March 11th 2013 @ 10:24am | ! Report

            Very good boys, especially Red Kev.
            They’ll be a booin’ again on Friday night I reckon if the Cheetahs roll them.
            Maybe we’ll get a repeat of the famous quote from the NSWRU CEO “There is no upside in the playing group being booed by their own supporters”.

            • March 11th 2013 @ 2:37pm
              hog said | March 11th 2013 @ 2:37pm | ! Report

              Problem is the Cheetahs aren’t exactly the guaranteed 3 points they used to be, Took the Highlanders to the cleaners you’d actually call them favourites.

              • March 11th 2013 @ 3:57pm
                winston said | March 11th 2013 @ 3:57pm | ! Report

                The way the Cheetahs have been playing they should be getting a lot of cheers.

          • Roar Guru

            March 11th 2013 @ 11:09am
            Jiggles said | March 11th 2013 @ 11:09am | ! Report

            Haha very good.

      • March 12th 2013 @ 12:25am
        Hightackle said | March 12th 2013 @ 12:25am | ! Report

        “Is there a point to this other than an attempt to lure Beale back to the Tahs on the basis its all different there now?”

        How does that even make sense to you?

    • March 11th 2013 @ 10:08am
      Cynic said | March 11th 2013 @ 10:08am | ! Report

      What is the point of this fulsome (in the correct meaning of the word) article?

      Is it to distract from the fact that KB is not the form 15 in Australia and to offer an excuse in advance for the fact that he will be selected anyway?

    • March 11th 2013 @ 10:29am
      jameswm said | March 11th 2013 @ 10:29am | ! Report

      Good article and confirms what I’ve thought.

      Kurtley needs people watching him in his off season, what he eats, what fitness he does etc.

      Fully fit and happy he is a joy to watch though.

      • Roar Guru

        March 11th 2013 @ 11:11am
        Jiggles said | March 11th 2013 @ 11:11am | ! Report

        It’s a shame at age 25 and being a full grown man Kurtley isn’t mature enough to take responsibility for his own development. Mind you the same could be said for a number of those x-factor wallabies.

        • March 11th 2013 @ 5:49pm
          Pollock said | March 11th 2013 @ 5:49pm | ! Report

          If your mature enough to be paid the thick end of $500k a year you should be able to look after yourself.
          Not fair to make it someone else’s problem.

          • March 12th 2013 @ 12:29am
            Hightackle said | March 12th 2013 @ 12:29am | ! Report

            I wasnt aware that everyones problems or weaknesses disapear when they become “mature”.
            Actually…come to think of it, they dont and thats quite silly.

    • Columnist

      March 11th 2013 @ 11:33am
      Geoff Parkes said | March 11th 2013 @ 11:33am | ! Report

      For all of our sakes please do anything to keep Kurtley on the park and away from the sideline comments microphone.

      • March 11th 2013 @ 3:55pm
        winston said | March 11th 2013 @ 3:55pm | ! Report

        Agreed. Though the standard doesn’t seem to be too high to become an fox sports rugby commentator. Kaffe excluded.

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