Test initiation tough for NZ rookies - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Test initiation tough for NZ rookies

Laine Clark 03/05/2011 06:50:30 PM Comments (0)

Debate may continue over Gerard Beale's defection to New Zealand, but the Broncos fullback may have thought twice about the controversial move after discovering his team initiation.

Brisbane-born Beale surprised many when he switched allegiances just last week after a trip to New Zealand despite representing the Junior Kangaroos in 2010.

Technically Beale can switch countries because rules governing international eligibility only apply to senior internationals.

But the ARL and NZRL are reportedly looking at changing eligibility rules so that others do not follow in Beale's footsteps.

However, it may have been a moot point if Beale had known what he had to do just to be considered for Friday night's trans-Tasman Test at Skilled Park.

As part of tradition, Beale and fellow rookie Matt Duffie had to strip down to their underwear and perform a mini-haka surrounded by teammates at the end of Tuesday's training session.

In another "ritual", the pair were asked to stand up in front of the rest of their burly teammates and sing a song ahead of the Test.

"Over the last few years it has become a ritual to welcome rookies into the camp," Kiwi coach Stephen Kearney said of the song.

"They (Beale, Duffie) asked if they could do a duet."

And to think, Beale is not even expected to play on Friday night, Lance Hohaia tipped to be named fullback.

But Beale has already made an off-field impact.

The ARL believe it is more in New Zealand's interest that eligibility rules be changed, with State of Origin considered a huge lure for Junior Kiwis.

But Kiwi forward Ben Matulino quipped playing Friday night's Test would be like an Origin after 12 Queenslanders were named in the Australian team.

"It's always been a dream to play for Queensland ... but it will be like playing against them on Friday night," he laughed.

Beale is not a rare case.

New Zealand's halves pairing on Friday night - captain Benji Marshall and Kieran Foran - both represented the Australian schoolboys before defecting.

It hasn't been all jokes at the rookies' expense in the Kiwi camp.

Beale joined the rest of his teammates at a moving team function on Sunday night where past and present Kiwi internationals were awarded specially designed "dog tags", an NZRL initiative that began last year.

Twelve ex-Kiwis now living in Australia - including Ken McCracken - were presented by Marshall with the tags that mark their international call-up.

Then current Kiwis - the recalled Foran and Fuifui Moimoi - received their tags.

The NZRL said rookie Kiwis would be presented with their tags in the dressing room immediately after their Test debut following Friday night's clash.

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