Beale poised for mile­stone thanks to gen­er­ous Cheika

The re­turn ticket

Townsville Bulletin - - SPORT - JAMIE PANDARAM

HOW Michael Cheika be­came coach of the Wal­la­bies, and how Kurt­ley Beale will bring up his 50th Test cap this week­end, are as in­ex­tri­ca­bly linked as the men them­selves.

Ten months ago, Beale’s ca­reer be­gan fall­ing apart in this Ar­gen­tinian city, and the fall­out from his clash with Di Pat­ston even­tu­ally led to coach Ewen McKen­zie’s res­ig­na­tion and Cheika’s ap­point­ment.

Dur­ing that pe­riod, Cheika’s sup­port for Beale never wa­vered and that loy­alty is a big rea­son why Cheika was seen as the right man to take over the na­tional job.

“He is a great leader, he knows how to get the best out of his play­ers and he cer­tainly does that for me,” Beale said.

“He keeps it very grounded, and his hon­est and straight­for­ward ap­proach gets the best out of me and I know a lot of the other guys re­act in a sim­i­lar way.”

Many were wash­ing their hands of Beale while Cheika was fig­u­ra­tively hold­ing his dur­ing the messy saga.

“I just felt like he needed some back- up; even when peo­ple do some things wrong they need sup­port,” Cheika said.

“God knows I’ve done some things wrong, ev­ery­one has … and you still need sup­port at those times.

“It doesn’t nec­es­sar­ily mean that what you did was right, but you still need back- up. And I’m also a big be­liever that not ev­ery­thing can be judged in that heat of the mo­ment.

“My gut feel­ing was that I should back him, but also be re­al­is­tic about the fact that what hap­pened wasn’t right. I’m not try­ing to jus­tify it.

“Some­times it’s a mat­ter of sup­port­ing peo­ple they need it.”

And the re­la­tion­ship be­tween the pair can now be likened to fa­ther and son, with hon­esty as the corner­stone.

“I don’t think it’s pay­back; it’s not like we’ve got a good re­la­tion­ship be­cause he owes me,” Cheika said.

“We’ve al­ways had a good re­la­tion­ship and you know what it’s built on? More of­ten than not, it’s just hon­esty. I’ll be hon­est with him, he’ll be hon­est with me, and that makes life a lot eas­ier.”

And so against the odds, Beale, 25, will reach his mile­stone match un­der Cheika.

The last time the Wal­la­bies were here, Beale was left out of the match­day 23 fol­low­ing his mid- flight ar­gu­ment and Aus­tralia were beaten by the Pu­mas.

The text- mes­sag­ing scan­dal in­volv­ing Pat­ston then erupted. The cy­clonic whirl­wind of his ca­reer leads him back to Men­doza a new man, cel­e­brat­ing the achieve­ment and striv­ing for re­demp­tion.

“You’re al­ways learn­ing aren’t you? Some­thing’s al­ways go­ing to be com­ing up each day and that’s some­thing I’ve taken on board,” Beale said.


TRUST­ING RE­LA­TION­SHIP: Beale ( right) and ( above) with Wal­la­bies coach Michael Cheika.

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