NRL 2020: NZ Warriors utility Gerard Beale announces retirement

NZ Warriors utility Gerard Beale has announced his NRL retirement, ending a challenging 194-game career. 

Beale made the announcement with a social media post, after a 12-year tenure that also saw him play 11 tests for the Kiwis.

The 30-year-old made his NRL debut with Brisbane Broncos in 2009, followed by stints at St George Illawarra Dragons, Cronulla Sharks - where he won a championship in 2016 - and the Warriors. 

But the last three seasons have been challenging for Beale, after he broke his leg in New Zealand's 2017 Rugby League World Cup opener and then fractured his kneecap last year. 

Earlier this year, Beale was told his services weren't required in 2021, with his contract expiring at the end of the season. 

"Wow! What a ride the past 12 years have been," he has written on Instagram. "Forever grateful to the many people I have met throughout my career.

"To my mum and dad for the time they spent taking me to all my trainings and games when I was young to the Broncos, who gave me the opportunity to debut in 2009, to the Dragons, Sharks and Warriors, and all the coaches, managers and teammates I have crossed paths with, I say thank you!

"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.

"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.

"To my beautiful wife Roi and our kids, thank you for riding this emotional rollercoaster with me. You have always put my dream of playing in the NRL before your own, I am and will always be forever grateful."

While Beale has called time on his NRL career, he still has ambitions to play Queensland Cup next year. 

"Although you may not see me in the NRL, having a run in the Queensland Cup is still on the cards," he adds. 

The Warriors have also paid their respects to Beale, who played 32 games for the club. 

"Congratulations on an outstanding footy career, Bealey," the Warriors write on their Instagram page. "Wishing you every success in your NRL retirement." 

Several of Beale's current and former teammates have also posted touching messages on his Instagram post. 

The Warriors roster is starting to take shape for next season, with props Kane Evans, Ben Murdoch-Masillia and Addin Fonua-Blake, along with centre Euan Aitken, joining the squad.