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NRL News: Beale a chance to make code switch as clubs consider offer, Gus pours cold water over Vegas hype

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22nd February, 2024
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Former Wallabies star Kurtley Beale could make a surprise NRL switch to finish his career with some clubs reportedly considering making an offer for the veteran playmaker.

Beale, who was recently cleared of sexual assault charges, is without a contract after the 95-Test Wallaby was stood down by Rugby Australia before last year’s World Cup due to his legal battle.

The 35-year-old has stated several times during his lengthy rugby career that he would be open to trying his hand at league and according to a NewsCorp report, Canterbury are one of a few clubs who have held discussions about whether they should offer Beale a short-term deal.

Although they have Matt Burton locked in at five-eighth, the Dogs could potentially use Beale as an option at halfback or fullback – former Roosters utility Drew Hutchison is set to start the season in the No.7 jersey ahead of ex-Titans playmaker Toby Sexton while Rabbitohs recruit Blake Taaffe will run out at fullback this weekend with Penrith marquee signing Stephen Crichton at centre.

Kurtley Beale during an Australia Wallabies training session at Sanctuary Cove on August 23, 2022 in Gold Coast, Australia. (Photo by Chris Hyde/Getty Images)

Kurtley Beale. (Photo by Chris Hyde/Getty Images)

Beale also has attracted interest from overseas rugby clubs and it would be more likely he ends up signing in France or Japan to see out the remaining years of his professional career.

When asked by Nine News last week about an NRL sojourn, Beale said: “It’s a possibility. I’ve always been a big admirer of league. Growing up in Mt Druitt, Sydney west, but also there’s been an admiration throughout my career.

“Always watching league over the weekends and taking little bits from different players to add to my game. There is interest there, for both codes.”

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Gus shoots down Vegas hype

Amid all the hype and bluster about the double-header to open the new season in Las Vegas, Bulldogs general manager Phil Gould has warned the NRL needs to be realistic about their chances of making any inroads into the US sporting market.

ARL Commission chair Peter V’landys and NRL CEO Andrew Abdo have claimed rugby league can earn big dollars if it can attract viewers and even a small share of the gambling market in the US.

However, Gould, speaking on his podcast Six Tackles With Gus, said the NRL could only make headway if there was a commitment to playing matches on a regular basis.

“If they want to start and they are serious about it, they’ve got to keep going,” he said.

“Hopefully we can showcase the game, that’s the whole idea of it – take the game to that part of the world. It’s not a one-off, we can’t just go there and judge it on one year.

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“Their markets and tastes are very much ingrained – it’s gonna be a very hard sell.”

South Sydney and Manly open the season at Allegiant Stadium in Las Vegas next Sunday followed by Brisbane up against the Roosters.

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