It was pointed out to me recently that I’ve reached that very nervous milestone of 99 Roar articles, not out. Therefore, I have various choices to reach my hundred.
Whether it be from the bench or in the No.15 jersey, Kurtley Beale will have an impact this World Cup as long as he’s singing to the right tune.
The versatile Beale has played a significant role for Michael Cheika in helping the Wallabies pass through the group stage undefeated.
Against Uruguay he was among the best on ground, slicing and dicing his way through feeble defence for three try assists.
A week later, having been moved back to the bench as Cheika again deployed his first-choice starting XV, Beale was called into the action after just ten minutes when winger Rob Horne was forced off with a shoulder injury.
He responded with a standout performance as Australia put their mark on the World Cup by eliminating the hosts.
Beale says the secret behind his instant impact is that every member of Cheika’s squad knows what role they bring.
“We talk about playing our own music,” he said.
“Everyone brings a different game to the match on the weekend.
“I think that’s important to be able to express that.”
Beale has embraced his role as one of Cheika’s “finishers” who are injected off the bench to freshen up the team in the second halves of clashes.
And he has used his speed and elusiveness to shred tiring defences so far, playing to his own style of up-tempo music.
“Whenever I get the opportunity it’s important to try and add that spark and bring that energy, to try and lift the guys up around me,” he said.
“Naturally that’s just the way I like to play as well – fast-tempo, upbeat and try and get involved as much as I can.”
His songsheet might change this week, depending on how star fullback Israel Folau is able to manage his ankle injury.
Folau has yet to train so far this week, but is expected to strap on the boots on Friday for the first time since last weekend’s win over Wales.
The uncertainty around Beale’s role leaves him “a little frustrated” but he admits the bigger picture, and the potential to one-day call himself a World Cup winner, helps him stay focused on the main goal.
“There’s a special thing there waiting for us,” he said.