Gerard Beale's arrival in Warriors colours will come almost six years after the club first chased his services, but the Kiwi international is hopeful a double leg fracture won't delay him from lining up in next month's season opener.
As one of four New Zealand Test stars arriving at the Warriors alongside Adam Blair, Tohu Harris, Peta Hiku and also ex-Manly five-eighth Blake Green, Beale has spent his off-season recovering from the broken tibia and fibula that ended his World Cup after barely one half of football.
A broken left leg, which he played on for a few minutes against Samoa in New Zealand's first game of the tournament, had Beale facing up to six months on the sidelines.
But with the 27-year-old expected to resume running again at training next week, a four month turnaround between the injury on October 28 and round one is on the cards, with Beale pushing to be fit for the Perth double-header when the Warriors will face South Sydney Rabbitohs.
"The rehab's coming along great, it's been almost 14 weeks," Beale told NRL.com from Perth as he performed promotional duties for the historic March 10 fixture.
"This has been the hardest part, letting it heal and taking it easy. From next week it ramps up and it should put me in good stead for round one and if not, a week or two after."
Beale's signing from heavyweights Cronulla rounds out several homecomings among the Warriors recent recruits.
Blair and Hiku have both long been viewed as the ones that got away for the Warriors, with the club making multiple approaches to the pair as they rose to representative honours at Melbourne and Manly respectively.
Unlike New Zealand-based juniors Blair and Hiku, Beale learned his craft in Australia, but still followed the Kiwi franchise as a kid and almost joined them in 2012 when leaving Brisbane.
"When I was at the Broncos and went to the Dragons, it was between the Dragons and the Warriors," Beale said.
"They were keen at that point and that stuck with me this whole time.
"I'm still happy with the path I've taken, I don't regret anything, but the chance to finally be involved with the Warriors really excited me. I love a challenge and there is a big one here."
After eight seasons, 164 games and 11 Tests, Beale's move from recent premiers Cronulla to a club that hasn't played finals since 2011 raised eyebrows.
But Beale rightly points out that the Sharks were in possession of a wooden spoon and reeling from the ASADA scandal when he joined them just two years before their maiden title in 2016.
With a three-year Warriors deal on the table and a chance to tie down a centre position that the signings of Josh Dugan and Aaron Gray by Cronulla had jeopardised, Beale has found himself at his fourth club and eyeing off another slice of NRL history.
"There was a number of reasons for the move, it was tough to leave the Sharks and I could've stayed, but I felt like a change was needed for me," he said.
"The Warriors came on board and being a Kiwi, a lot of us boys feel for the Warriors at heart, I always followed them as a kid.
"And there is the chance to possibly do what I did at Cronulla and be involved in the club's first premiership winning team, that'd be crazy.
"To think how the whole community at Cronulla got behind it and the whole Shire went crazy, for the Warriors to have success over here would be great thing to be a part of and it was a big attraction.
"The Warriors have always had talented teams, they've just been missing that final ingredient.
"There's been a lot of honesty within the group and hard work put in so far this pre-season.
"… It's early days but I do see a few similarities with where the Sharks and the Warriors were coming from and hopefully that'll translate into our games."
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