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Beale considering code switch after beating sexual assault charges

Andrew Mathieson -

A 35-year-old Kurtley Beale is considering a staggering rugby code switch from union to league after days earlier winning a court battle against accusations of sexual assault.

The former Wallabies star was found not guilty on Friday of a sexual intercourse without consent charge inside the bathroom of an inner Sydney pub that happened in December 2022.

Police interviewed and charged the Darug and Kamilaroi man a month later, forcing Rugby NSW to stand down the star playmaker indefinitely.

But outside the defendant's box in the courtroom, Beale has been training in secret with celebrated sprint coach Roger Fabri to help clear his mind of the trial.

Fabri is backing that Beale is the fittest that he has been for years without playing the sport.

"For 12 months, there has been no other interference," Fabri told Nine media.

"He has been able to focus on being an athlete with no bumps and bruises nor injuries.

"He's now moving fire."

After losing a vital year of his career at a crucial juncture to cement his First Nations legacy in the 15-man-a-side game when most players are packing their bags to settle into retirement, Beale is looking for one last challenge to go out on top.

The most capped Indigenous Wallaby, who is just five short of 100 Tests, has given up on passing the historic milestone.

However, converting to the NRL could be a "possibility" after starting in rugby league for the junior Western City Tigers club.

Only a scholarship to St Joseph's College swayed the schoolboy to rugby union and onto future Australian representation.

"I have always been a big admirer of league, growing up in Mt Druitt, Sydney's west," Beale said.

"There has always been an admiration throughout my career after always watching league over the weekends, taking bits from different players to try and incorporate into my own game."

Returning to France for a second stint – after a 2021 sojourn there – or elsewhere in Europe for a return to union remains an authentic consideration, but Beale is hellbent that his story will not end spending so much time to prove his innocence in a court case.

"The interest is there still in both codes," Beale said.

Though, there has been no in-principle offers during or since the trial from NRL clubs or rugby clubs.

Rejoining the Waratahs seems to be a longer way away despite residing in Sydney.

Returning to training after the case, Beale felt an emotional weight off his broad shoulders.

He immediately paid tribute after the not-guilty verdict to his "beautiful wife Maddie" and says he will be "forever grateful" for the support in the worst year of his life.

"I guess, overall, I am just relieved now that I can put the past year behind me," Beale said.

Beale never denied he attempted having sex with his engaged accuser, adding that he should not have put his pregnant wife into this position with a second expected child on its way.

"There's certainly mistakes that I am not proud of," he said.

"There are huge work-ons to be a better person, to be able to be a better person going forward," he said.

"So, yeah, I am aware of that.

"I'm not a perfect person, but I will be doing everything I can to take the right steps with the relationships I have in my life."

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