Beale puts deal on back-burner
Cronulla Sharks utility Gerard Beale will put the finals ahead of the uncertainty surrounding his future after being linked to rival clubs in the past month.
Beale admits the likelihood of staying in the Shire is 50-50 with the 27-year-old out to seek a long-term deal – the Sharks only offering a one-year extension.
The former Kiwi international has been heavily linked to a move with Newcastle but conceded he was settled with life in Sydney.
With the Sharks in a sudden-death situation over the next month, Beale has prioritised football ahead of sorting out his 2018 plans.
"I've got a young family now and for that reason alone I don't want to rush it, which is probably why it is dragging on more that what I would have liked," Beale told NRL.com.
"There are a lot of options and I'll take my time with it. Whether it's here at the Sharks or somewhere else only time will tell."
Beale is in a similar boat this late in the season to Storm pair Cooper Cronk and Billy Slater, with their futures still yet to be decided, along with a host of other players entering into the finals series.
"It sounds weird but I'm not worried or stressed about it being this late in the season because the only thing I can control is playing footy," Beale said.
"As players we've all got managers that we put trust in and I'm confident mine has got my best interests – and at least from what I've seen so far from negotiations, I'm confident it will work out."
Cronulla head into the finals series on the back of a comfortable win over the Knights, but Beale is under no illusions the level of intensity would rise instantly on Sunday.
"We knew it was going to be a big day for the Knights on their Old Boys Day and it was going to be tough," Beale said.
"We got to 18-0 playing at our best but let them back into it and that's something we need to fix it next week in the finals, but we're there now.
"You look at Melbourne who wrapped up the minor premiership a few weeks ago but were still performing, so it's up to us to get to that level.
"We need to win in everything we do and now we've got to."
The Sharks have built a bitter rivalry with North Queensland in recent years and will add another chapter in a do-or-die battle on the weekend.
Beale believes the finals experience from both sides will play its part in the crunch period of the encounter.
"With majority of the team playing in the grand final, that certainly helps and in the big games you want players who can perform under the pressure," he said.
"Every team is out there to win it and it's not going to be easy or like last year's path.
"We don't get two chances but in saying that whoever loses in the first week is back in the same scenario and that second week is always harder to play.
"We've got a clear pathway and know what we have to do to take it out again."
Cronulla will name their 21-man squad on Tuesday afternoon with Wade Graham and Jack Bird expected to return for the must-win clash.