After hanging up the boots in 2020, former New Zealand international Gerard Beale is back in the NRL fold amid an injury and suspension crisis at St George Illawarra.
The 30-year-old premiership winner with Cronulla has appeared six times for the Brisbane Tigers in the Intrust Super Cup this year, and returns to the NRL on a sign and train deal with the Dragons.
Some familiar faces welcomed the 12-year veteran to his sixth NRL club as he reunited with former teammates Jack Bird, Andrew Mcullough, Ben Hunt and coach Anthony Griffin.
After calling it quits in 2020 due to ongoing injuries following three season at the Warriors, a successful stint in the Queensland Cup has rewarded Beale with another shot at the highest level.
"Playing in the Queensland Cup really ignited that (desire)," said Beale, a premiership winner with Cronulla in 2016.
"I really did find it - the real love and passion for it (NRL) again.
"Just because at the Warriors, the past three years I did have a couple of big injuries which probably dented a bit of my confidence and all that but it has been really refreshing and I'm happy to be in the environment now, especially with some familiar faces.
Beale's inclusion is timely for a depleted Dragons outfit on the injury and suspension front.
Matt Dufty (shoulder) and Cameron McInnes (ACL) are out indefinitely, with fellow back Zac Lomax is expected to return in round 14 following a thumb injury.
Mikaele Ravalawa, Tyrell Fuimaono, Josh McGuire are all suspended, along with Josh Kerr who joins them this week after taking an early guilty plea for a shoulder charge in round 11.
Beale says morale remains high around the playing group.
"Coming in, knowing the challenges that they're having at the moment I thought (there) might be a bit of frustration here and there, but they've been really great I think Hook (Griffin) is really keeping the team focused on what's important," he said.
"(They're) definitely doing it tough at the moment.- the boys, so I'm happy to help wherever that is.
"Whatever Hook decides I'll be ready."
© AAP 2021
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