Rebels coach hails ‘courageous’ Beale for seeking help

AFP, SYDNEY

Wed, May 15, 2013 - Page 18

Melbourne Rebels coach Damien Hill praised Wallaby Kurtley Beale yesterday for his “courageous” decision to seek help for alcohol issues, but would not be drawn on his future at the club.

Beale on Monday decided to stand down from rugby indefinitely to enter a private health facility to undertake counseling, which appears to have ended his chance of playing in the British and Irish Lions series starting next month.

The talented back has has been in continual off-field trouble this season and was suspended by the Rebels for striking teammates Cooper Vuna and Gareth Delve during the club’s tour in South Africa on March 23.

He returned to the side on a strict no-alcohol undertaking, which he breached the night after his comeback in the Rebels’ clash with the Chiefs on May 3.

“I think it’s a courageous move on his behalf and we wish him all the best with that,” Hill told reporters of Beale’s decision to seek help.

Asked if he would ever appear in a Rebels shirt again, he said: “It’s hard to make comment on that at the moment. I think the most important thing is that Kurtley’s welfare is foremost in everyone’s minds and we’ll have to wait and see how things turn out.”

Beale was omitted from last month’s preliminary Australian squad to face the Lions.

His former mentor Glen Ella, who managed the schoolboy star from age 13 to 19, said Beale should forgot all thoughts of playing in the series.

“I’d love to see him playing against the Lions but, in all honesty, I think that [not playing] is going to be part of his rehabilitation,” he told Fairfax Media.

“My advice to Kurtley ... is that he just has to keep away from it and focus on re-establishing his career,” Ella added.