Kurtley Beale has ended his troubled stint with the Melbourne Rebels and re-signed for the New South Wales Waratahs, ending speculation he would be switching codes to join an NRL team.
Some betting markets had linked the Australia full-back with a move to rugby league after interest from several NRL franchises, but the end of a protracted transfer sees Beale return to the club he first signed for as a 16-year-old.
After leaving Sydney for the Melbourne Rebels in 2011, Beale has appeared to go from one off-field incident to another, including a drunken assault on two Rebels team-mates and time spent in counselling for issues relating to alcohol abuse.
“I feel at home in Sydney, it’s where my family are. The Waratahs are a team going places and I’m really looking forward to playing some good, consistent rugby,” said Beale.
“I’ve made the decision to get my shoulder right, I hope this next year will be a big one for me. I’m excited by the World Cup on the horizon and I’m just looking forward to getting back to playing really good rugby, having a big year for the Waratahs and hopefully getting selected for the Wallabies.”
Despite a disappointing season with the Rebels, Beale returned to the international fold against the British and Irish Lions earlier this summer confident of defying the sports betting and inspiring underdogs Australia to success.
However, that comeback went all wrong when he missed a vital kick at the end of the first Test, with the Lions then going on to win the series 2-1.
A shoulder injury put paid to any chance of being part of Australia’s Rugby Championship squad, and the versatile back will now be looking to put himself in contention for the World Cup in 2015.