Melbourne Rebels are investigating whether any teammates drank with Kurtley Beale last weekend after the troubled star was suspended for breaking a booze ban.
Beale was on Thursday stood down by the ARU and Melbourne for the Rebels’ game against the Blues on Saturday after admitting to consuming alcohol on Saturday night, in breach of an agreement to not drink for the rest of the year.
The 24-year-old had only returned to action for the Rebels a night earlier after being suspended for drunkenly punching teammates in South Africa, and subsequently undergoing a month of counselling to address his alcohol problems.
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Beale’s involvement in the Lions tour appears in major jeopardy, and given he is a repeat visitor to the Last Chance Saloon, he could potentially face the sack.
It understood the ARU and Rebels are unlikely to cut Beale adrift and will seek further ways to help him when talks between the ARU, RUPA, the Rebels and Beale’s management occur in coming days.
The potentially damaging presence of Rebels teammates being in Beale’s company while drinking was being looked at on Thursday.
The Daily Telegraph understands Beale and James O’Connor attended the Melbourne Storm-Raiders NRL game at AAMI Park and later entered a hotel where other Rebels players were already situated. It is believed no one saw Beale consuming alcohol but senior – and sober – Rebels players suspected he may have been drinking. They spoke with the Wallaby and subsequently remained with him until the night ended at midnight.
When quizzed the next day, Beale admitted to Melbourne boss Rob Clarke he drank.
Clarke confirmed the club’s investigation was only due to be completed today but expressed confidence no Rebels players were complicit in Beale’s drinking.
“We are trying to get all the details and understand what took place,” Clarke said.
“I don’t foresee at this point of time anything that gives me concern around our playing group not acting in an appropriate manner.
“But that, in a way, is a side point to what Kurtley told me himself. That is what our actions was based on.
“It is worth noting this isn’t a public behavioural issue that’s had an impact in public .
“This is Kurtley breaching agreed behavioural protocols between us, the ARU and him. It is an important difference.”
Given his contrition over the Durban incident and agreement to enter counselling, to break agreed guidelines raises big questions about whether he believes he has a problem that needs fixing. It is also understood Beale missed a counselling session.