by Jack Brady
Sharks and New Zealand centre Gerard Beale is hoping for a happier outcome when he heads to Newcastle's Hunter Stadium for the second time in nine days on Sunday afternoon.
Beale featured in the Kiwis' 16-0 loss to the Kangaroos last Friday night and while he produced the goods on a personal level, he's hoping in club land that his Sharks can make it seven straight against the Knights.
The 25-year-old had been relatively successful in Newcastle prior to the Test – winning three of his four NRL games there – and even found a positive from his time at Hunter Stadium a week ago.
"The field was really good. I was telling the boys that it's going to be a fast track up there and we should all look forward to it," Beale laughed.
"For the Kiwis, on a personal level, I was happy with how I went but in saying that it would have been good to win. To get our fourth win straight over Australia would've been nice, just to rub it in.
"But they had a really good side and they were just too strong on the night."
The Sharks are currently tied atop the NRL Telstra Premiership ladder and will come up against the cellar-dwelling Knights this weekend.
Beale credited the team spirit for the Sharks' current standing in the competition but said it would be all unraveled if they couldn't do a number on Newcastle come Sunday.
"The team morale is really good at the moment which is awesome. It's important we realise that even though we have put a few wins together we haven't achieved anything yet," Beale said.
"We're almost halfway through the season and as a group it's important we stick tight. Importantly from the players on the field to the office, everyone is working hard and on the same page because we obviously want success.
"If we don't go up to Newcastle to perform then it throws everything we have worked on over the past six weeks out the window.
"We just have to stick to what we know against some very quality Knights players like Dane Gagai and Trent Hodkinson. We're going to have our hands full."
Up until the Sharks' last-start win over premiership heavyweights Brisbane a fortnight ago, Beale had been resigned to the bench for the opening two months of the season.
The former Dragon and Bronco said it had been hard to take his relegation personally after being chosen in favour of long-term mate and fellow Souths Logan junior Ricky Leutele for the most part in 2016.
"I'm obviously happy about being back starting. Sometimes strange things happen and I guess everything happens for a reason so at the moment I'm happy with where I am and I can't complain," Beale said.
"It was tough not to take it personally. Ricky is a talented player himself but either way it's good to play together no matter where we are in a team."
*Article reproduced courtesy NRL.com