Gerard Beale has become the second senior Vodafone Warriors player to announce his retirement following the club’s 2020 NRL season.
First 34-year-old Adam Blair revealed the team’s season-ending match against the Manly Warringah Sea Eagles on September 27 would the 331st and final NRL appearance of his 15-season NRL career.
Now the versatile Beale (30) has followed suit falling just short of joining the NRL’s 200-game club after a career limited by several serious injuries.
Using his social media accounts, Beale’s posted under the heading “END OF AN ERA”:
“Wow! What a ride the past 12 years have been. So many have only dreamed of playing in the NRL let alone playing for 12years. I will be forever grateful to the many people I have met throughout my career. To my mum and dad for the time they spent taking me to all my trainings and games when I was young, to the Broncos who gave me the opportunity to debut in 2009, to the Dragons, Sharks, and Warriors, and all the coaches, managers and team mates I have crossed paths with, I say thank you!
“Throughout my career I have been through it all, injury after injury, setback after setback. I had moments of self-doubt, but I pushed through. Mentally it was tough but also rewarding. I am proud that in these 12 years through all the injuries and setbacks I persevered and was able to not only keep playing but win a premiership, represent my culture and my country.”
In July Beale said he had been 50-50 on whether he would play in 2020 after coming back from a sickening patella injury suffered against the Roosters last season.
“I’ve had a tough run with a lot on injuries which has set me back in a lot of ways,” he said.
“I’m still 50-50 (about 2021) but sometimes you have to look at reality.”
Beale started his 194-game NRL career with the Broncos in 2009, first making the Kiwis in 2011 when he debuted as Kiwi #767 in the end-of-season Test against the Kangaroos in Newcastle ahead of the Four Nations in the United Kingdom. His 11th and final Test was against Toa Samoa in the Kiwis’ first match of the 2017 Rugby League World Cup, an occasion which came to a sad end for him when he suffered an horrific leg injury.
After 63 appearances for the Broncos from 2009-2012, Beale played 29 times for St George Illawarra in 2013 and 2014 followed by a 70-game stint with Cronulla Sutherland from 2015-2017, which included a 2016 grand final winner’s medal when he was on the bench for the Sharks’ 14-12 win over Melbourne.
The Vodafone Warriors became his fourth and final home for three seasons with injuries limiting him to 32 appearances including seven this season; in his final season he averaged 106 metres.
During his NRL career he was used at fullback, at left and right wing and left and right centre while he also started in the #6 jersey for the Vodafone Warriors against South Sydney last year.
Beale represented his heritage – he’s Ngāti Mutunga – when he played for the Maori All-Stars against the Australian Indigenous All-Stars in Melbourne in 2019 while he was in the World All-Stars for the 2017 match against the Indigenous team.
Beale has been studying for an applied management degree in preparation for life after football.