Close call: The Storm's Ryan Hinchcliffe towers over James O'Connor. Photo: Getty Images
WALLABIES five-eighth Kurtley Beale says a stint in rugby league might be in his future after a cross-code training session with NRL premier Melbourne.
The Rebels Super Rugby star hit the training paddock for the first time since Australia's tour of Britain and Europe late last year and he sweated it out in a two-hour session with the Storm.
The Storm is renowned for its tortuous pre-season campaigns but the Rebels were able to keep the pace. Rebels and Wallaby half-back Nick Phipps was one who never let his Storm opposite Cooper Cronk get the better of him.
Beale said he wanted to try his hand in the 13-man game. ''It's always lingering in the back of my mind,'' he said. '' I played it all my junior career. Hopefully later on, in the years to come, I will be able to put my hand up and have a crack at it.''
Beale said his focus was on a big year ahead for the Rebels and the Wallabies, with the British and Irish Lions in Australia for their three-Test series in June-July.
Beale wore the Wallabies' No. 10 jersey on the spring tour and said he wanted to continue in the role, holding off challenges from Quade Cooper and his Rebels' teammate James O'Connor, among others.
His fitness was in question during Melbourne's 2012 Super Rugby campaign, hampered early on by hamstring-related problems. And while injury-free, Beale admitted he still had plenty of work to do before the Rebels' opening-round clash with the Western Force on February 15.
''I'm a little bit off,'' he said. ''Obviously, it's my first day back today and the boys were jogging past me, so there's a little bit of work to do.''
The Rebels and Storm will present a united front in Geelong early next month when they play trial games; the NRL titleholders hosting Canberra on February 8 and the Rebels facing Wellington the next day at Simonds Stadium.
■ Storm coach Craig Bellamy insisted on Thursday he hasn't made a decision on his future.
Despite reports the former NSW origin coach had snubbed an offer from St George Illawarra and told the Storm of his desire to re-sign, Bellamy released a statement saying he could not confirm where he will coach next year.
Retaining Bellamy is seen as crucial to the future of the Storm, because of his work in rebuilding the club after the salary cap drama.
''I have not given any undertaking or made any pledge to anyone,'' Bellamy said. ''We are scheduling further discussions in the coming week. Hopefully, a decision is not that far off.''