Ultimate League: It’s not too late to sign up for our Fantasy NRL game
St George Illawarra centre Gerard Beale is making up for lost time.
After a year in the rugby league purgatory of rehabilitation, he hits the restart button on his career, lining up in the centres. Kyle Stanley and Beale have dealt with seven knee reconstructions between them and know all about the tough road back from one of the most dreaded injuries.
Last year, Stanley was reeling from his fourth anterior cruciate ligament injury in three years and Beale was forced to sit idly as Josh Dugan took an immovable hold on the No.1 jersey he had come to the club to make his own. The pair regularly commute to training and games together, and formed a strong bond pushing each other on the road to an NRL return. ”It feels like I’ve been missing out and now to be enjoying it again and be back out there I feel like a little kid,” Beale said. ”I’m excited to be playing with all the new boys and all the boys I had to watch last year.”
Beale, who was a new face at the club when forced into rehab, attributes much of his recovery to Stanley. ”Obviously it was unfortunate that we were both out at the same time but we’ve really spent a lot of time together on and off the field,” he said. ”Through the rehab process, having Kyle there, we were really pushing each other a lot. I don’t think I’d be feeling as good as I do now or be in the shape I am now if it wasn’t for him.
”He really pushed me a lot and I was trying to push him as well to make sure we were ready to go for now, the start of the season. It’s going to be good to run out alongside him.”
It’s a sentiment echoed by Stanley, who in the dark days following his fourth ACL injury relied heavily on Beale to lighten the mood. ”Gerard’s a top bloke and there’s been some funny times in rehab, I can tell you,” Stanley said. ”It was awesome, as bad as it was both of us doing our knee, we really became close friends … I didn’t really know Gerard before that but obviously when he did his knee I felt very sorry for him.
”We’ve got sons around the same age and our partners get along really well so we’ve become really close friends.
”It was good but we’ve got to put those times behind us now and just start playing footy.”