Kurtley Beale's problem 'has to be alcohol'
March 28, 2013
Kurtley Beale's playing career should be the last thing on his mind, Adam Freier says © Getty Images
The welfare of errant Wallabies star Kurtley Beale should be the first concern of Australian rugby, and talk of rival clubs and codes signing him is unfair and premature, Melbourne Rebels media official and former teammate Adam Freier says.
The immediate priority of club and country is to get to the root of Beale's personal issues after he was sent home from South Africa in disgrace, Freier says.
Beale is expected to attend an Australian Rugby Union disciplinary hearing over his latest indiscretion, which involved allegedly punching Rebels skipper Gareth Delve and team-mate Cooper Vuna on the team bus following a heavy loss to the Sharks in Durban.
The incident has prompted speculation the Rebels will be happy to let him go for next season, and reports have linked him with a possible return to New South Wales Waratahs or a switch to the NRL with struggling St George Illawarra.
"To be perfectly honest, the main concern - it's not about cutting Kurtley, it's not about where he's going next year for us and some of the comments that clubs and codes will try and poach him straight away - it isn't fair because right at this point in time the Rebels are just trying to work with Kurtley to ensure that he is okay," Freier said on Sky Sports Radio.
"The first thing to make sure is that he is okay and that he can get over whatever's happening to him at the moment because it's just not normal for the kid. So that's the priority at the moment and that's why the process is ongoing."
Pressed on Beale's problem, Freier replied: "It has to be alcohol, that is the big issue. I'm not saying he's Robinson Crusoe, there's a lot of people with the same issue in sport, but we need to address it properly."
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Freier appeared to draw on NRL superstar Ben Barba's recent suspension by his Canterbury club, reportedly over alcohol and gambling issues, as an example of how rugby should handle Beale. "Other codes have shown when they've seen the problem they've dealt with the person first, and we need to follow suit," he said.
Beale is also still to attend mediation on April 17 over the alleged assault of a Brisbane bouncer last year.
Freier added of Beale's latest indiscretion on the team bus: "He wasn't playing and he certainly was in a state that wasn't acceptable, that's clear as day. I mean you're not going to be sober and being able to punch your captain. You can't even be in a tipsy or even nearly drunken state to be doing that, he had to have been intoxicated."