Former Kiwis and Warriors star Gerard Beale will make a surprise return from retirement with the St George Illawarra Dragons.
The 11-test Kiwi, who retired at the end of last season after two years with the Warriors, has answered an SOS from Dragons coach Anthony Griffin – who Beale played for at the Brisbane Broncos – to help with reinforcements in their squad ravaged by injuries and suspensions.
Beale retired after last season due to ongoing injury issues, but has returned to the field since for the Brisbane Tigers in the Intrust Super Cup, playing six games this season.
"Throughout my career, I have been through it all - injury after injury, setback after setback. I had moments of self doubt, but I pushed through," Beale said in a social media post announcing his retirement in October last year.
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"Mentally, it was tough, but also rewarding. I am proud that, in these 12 years, through all the injuries and setbacks, I persevered and was able to not only keep playing, but win a premiership, represent my culture and my country.
"With all that said and as emotional as this decision has been. I am proud to announce my retirement from the NRL."
According to NRL.com, the 30-year-old signed a cut-price training contract with the Dragons and joined the squad on Tuesday as the team scrambles to name a 21-man squad to face the Cronulla Sharks.
The Dragons were reportedly after Tigers utility Moses Mbye before discussions stalled and a one-year deal with Beale was made.
Beale will be welcomed by former Broncos teammates Ben Hunt, Josh McGuire, Andrew McCullough and Corey Norman at the Dragons.
He played two seasons with the Dragons in 2013 and 2014, contributing 10 tries in 29 games.
The Dragons will be hoping to cling on to the sixth spot despite losing four players – Josh McGuire, Tariq Sims, Tyrell Fuimaono and Mikaele Ravalawa – and fullback Matt Dufty to a shoulder injury.