Gerard Beale happy to wing it for Dragons' sake

Gerard Beale takes part in a climbing exercise. Picture: ROBERT PEET

Gerard Beale takes part in a climbing exercise. Picture: ROBERT PEET

RUGBY LEAGUE

Dragons centre Gerard Beale is content with a shift back to the wing if it's part of Paul McGregor's gradual overhaul of the St George Illawarra backline.

Beale and five-eighth Gareth Widdop are the only members of the Dragons backline to have featured in all 13 matches this season, a welcome change for the Kiwi international after his season-ending knee injury last year.

Beale was partnered in the centres with Dylan Farrell, Nathan Green, Joel Thompson, Peter Mata'utia and newly minted NSW Origin centre Josh Dugan throughout the season and was on the wing in the 18-14 loss to Penrith last week to accommodate Charly Runciman.

Runciman's first appearance in the top grade stretched the list of centres used by the Dragons this year to seven.

Runciman has been named on the wing for Sunday's match with the Titans, though there is a possibility he will again play in the centres with Beale on the wing after the pair showed promising signs against the Panthers.

"It [wing] was a bit different but I've played there before. I know the role and understand where you have to be so it was a good little challenge," Beale said.

"I'll play anywhere but I've been on the left edge all year and there's a lot of good signs there and I think we've got a lot of improvement in us.

"I think our performance was better [against the Panthers] than it has been in past weeks and every week we're getting closer to our best."

The Dragons will be sweating on the fitness of Dugan after Wednesday night's second State of Origin match, with Peter Mata'utia, who filled in at right centre in the loss to the Panthers, the likely replacement should he be unable to back up.

Nathan Green, who was former coach Steve Price's first choice replacement when Dylan Farrell suffered a long-term pectoral injury in the Dragons' round six loss to Melbourne, is another possibility.

Beale was confident his side's abundance of backline talent can cover all scenarios

"We've got a lot of depth there. I think whoever gets put in a position out in the backline is going to do a great job," Beale said.

"They're all awesome players and it's good to see everyone to get their opportunity to show what they can do.

"There's still guys like Brett [Morris] and Dylan [Farrell] who are still to come back as well.

"There's a lot of competitiveness there, which is good, so hopefully the backline can keep improving no matter who plays there."

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