Beale becomes centre of attention

Standing tall, running freely: St George Illawarra Dragons centre Gerard Beale. Picture: Andy Zakeli
Standing tall, running freely: St George Illawarra Dragons centre Gerard Beale. Picture: Andy Zakeli

GERARD Beale made the big switch from his first NRL club, Brisbane Broncos, to join St George Illawarra Dragons, with the No.1 jersey his goal.

Last season, the Logan Brothers junior did his knee in round five win against Newcastle at Jubilee Oval and that was it for the year.

Beale said it was disappointing to play only five games with the Dragons but now that was behind him.

That was his third knee reconstruction: twice his left knee and once his right have been under the surgeon's knife.

Beale said the knee was stable and felt he had gained confidence with each game in 2014.

Ironically, Beale lined up against his former club, Broncos, at WIN Stadium, Wollongong, on Friday night.

But he is now shifted to the centres with the Dragons signing the tall Josh Dugan last season from Canberra.

Dugan is out injured with a knee injury and the lightning fast Adam Quinlan has slotted into fullback.

But Beale, a Kiwi international, has played left centre in the opening rounds of this season.

The retirement of left centre Matt Copper, the Dragons leading club tryscorer with 124, has opened the door for Beale.

"Matt has been helping me and giving me advice," Beale said.

"I have put on two kilograms to play centre. I feel like I'm at my ideal weight now."

He weighs 96 kilograms and stands 182 centimetres, a good physique to play centre to cope with the defensive workload.

Beale said he was enjoying the role in the centres, and the determined outside back could now make the position his own.

He wanted to play fullback at the Broncos but spent most of his time on the wing.

One of his best mates at the Broncos, Josh Hoffman, got to wore the No.1 jersey, Beale's preferred position at the time.

Beale is with the Dragons for three years.

In 2014, Beale said playing in the team with Gareth Widdop at five-eighth gave confidence to the team. "Gareth brings composure to the team," Beale said. "It's good playing outside him."

Beale said he felt at home at the Dragons and under the coaching of Steve Price. "Initially, I came here to play fullback but I'm enjoying centre and the team is playing well at the moment," Beale said.


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