Wallabies five-eighth Kurtley Beale says a stint in rugby league might be in his future following a cross-code training session with NRL premiers Melbourne.
The Rebels Super Rugby star hit the training paddock for the first time since Australia’s tour of the UK and Europe late last year and he sweated it out in a two-hour session with the Storm.
The Storm are renowned for their tortuous pre-season campaigns but the Rebels were able to keep the pace.
Rebels and Wallaby halfback Nick Phipps was one who never let his Storm opposite Cooper Cronk get the better of him.
Admitting he was a huge league fan, Beale said he wanted to try his hand in the 13-man game.
“It’s always lingering in the back of my mind,” the 24-year-old said.
“I’m a massive fan of rugby league and I played it all my junior career and I’m always switching channels to watch it on the weekend.
“Hopefully later on, in the years to come, I will be able to put my hand up and have a crack at it.”
He said his focus was on a big year ahead for the Rebels and the Wallabies, with the British and Irish Lions in Australia for their three-Test series in June-July.
Beale wore the Wallabies No.10 jersey on the Spring tour and said he wanted to continue in the role, holding off challenges from Queensland’s Quade Cooper and his Rebels’ teammate James O’Connor, among others.
His fitness was in question during Melbourne’s 2012 Super Rugby campaign, hampered early on by hamstring-related problems.
While injury-free, Beale admitted he still had plenty of work to do before their opening-round clash with the Western Force on February 15.
“I’m a little bit off,” he said.
“Obviously, it’s my first day back today and the boys were jogging past me so there’s a little bit of work to do but I’ll try and focus on that over the next few weeks.
“Our boys had a really good off-season and, to be able to see them mix it with the champion league team, brought me a lot of confidence going into a new year.”
The Rebels and Storm will present a united front in Geelong early next month when they play trial games; the NRL titleholders hosting Canberra on Friday February 8 and the Rebels facing Hurricanes the next day at Simmons Stadium.