Melbourne's rebels on different paths
Mon, 08 Jul 2013 12:01
The inseparable Melbourne Rebels duo of James O'Connor and Kurtley Beale seem to be heading in different directions with the one in demand and the other in the cold.
O'Connor was selected at flyhalf for the series against the British and Irish Lions but left a lot to be desired as he was unable to spark the Wallabies to a series win and battled to stamp his authority on the No.10 jersey as well as the series.
At the conclusion of the series the Rebels informed him that they were not going to be renewing his contract at the end of the season which means he is on the market and it seems like only the Force having any interest in signing him - but only on their terms.
Chief executive of the Force, Mike Sinderberry said: "It's quite a big decision [as to whether to sign O'Connor] and it's going to be on our terms.
"We are really pleased with the progress the team's made. And under Matt Hodgson's leadership this year, the players have worked very hard to establish team values.
"Really, it's a non negotiable that any player who comes into the squad would have to buy into those values," Sinderberry mentioned.
The Wallaby left the Force because of a number of contractual demands not being met which means that if he is to want a return to the West coast he is going to have to buy into a system that he might not necessarily agree with.
The Force reportedly withdrew their contract offer to O'Connor after he demanded the deal contain a series of key performance indicators (KPIs) that the club must achieve.
One of the KPIs was to re-sign Wallabies flanker David Pocock.
O'Connor went on to sign with the Melbourne Rebels, but his two years at the club were blighted by injuries and rumours of his brash behaviour causing friction with teammates.
With this revelation it seems that Waratahs coach Michael Cheika could make a serious bid for the services of the troubles Kurtley Beale.
The Rebels back was inspirational for the Wallabies in the Test series against the Lions and Cheika feels that with the loss of O'Connor he will be able to lure Beale back to Sydney.
"With O'Connor leaving Melbourne, they will be more interested in Beale trying to stay," Cheika said.
"While they've had their Test commitments, I've stayed away from them because I don't want to be busting them with that type of stuff when they've got huge matches on their hands.
"Now that's over, we'll concentrate a bit more on those things," the Waratahs coach added.
Snapping up O'Connor is not something that interests Cheika and he says that he has more than enough depth and not enough money to gain the services of the utility back.
"I've got more than enough players in that part of the field and I would never be able to fit him into the salary cap either.
"I [also] think we're looking to play a different style to the way James plays," the coach mentioned.
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