Kurtley Beale has spent most of his 95 test matches carrying the burden of Aboriginal expectations alone while running out for the Wallabies.

There was Matt Hodgson from 2010 until 2017, but his 11 sporadic Tests in the back row hardly gave Beale much of a chance to run onto deft passes from the 140-game Western Force veteran.

Then there was Saia and Anthony Fainga’a, who earned 36 and 23 caps each for Australia; their mixed ancestry entwined more in their paternal Tongan roots.

So, there will be no one prouder to hear the national anthem sung in Yugambeh language of a hero to the man from Darug country.

Mullenjaiwakka Lloyd McDermott debuted in 1962. Picture: NSWALC

Three years since he donned the first Indigenous strip, Beale sang Advance Australia Fair in Eora from the same language group of his Yuin-speaking mob.

The rendition on Saturday from the late Lloyd McDermott’s Mununjali clan will be belted out against the usual gusto of God Save the Queen.

“Lloydy did great work to improve opportunities for Indigenous rugby players,” Beale said.

“He is no longer with us, but I still remember what he told me in Brisbane in 2017 when we were preparing to wear that jersey for the first time against the All Blacks.

“Don’t underestimate how powerful this is going to be for our generation and the next for our kids and all kids in Australia.”

Beale was honoured alongside the 1960s winger when they represented two of the 14 waterholes on the inaugural First Nations’ jersey of 2020 which counted every Indigenous Wallaby.

The 33-year-old was present again to reveal the latest design to be worn against England for NAIDOC Week.

The pre-game appearance on the Gold Coast offered Beale a chance to picture what it would be like wearing the Australian colours for the first time since last November.

Beale’s surprise recall to play three Tests on the European tour reminded the mesmeric talent of what was missing in his career.

“It lit the fire,” Beale said.

“When you step away from the game in Australia and the Wallabies jersey, obviously it’s a special honour you’re not a part of anymore.

“Dave was very transparent in what he needs from me and where I need to be to achieve further honours.”

But the grind of being the star foreign player expected to work harder to earn his lofty wage has also taken a toll on his body.

A terribly ruptured hamstring in February has left Beale on the sidelines.

His aim now is to play next year’s Rugby World Cup, and to reach 100 Wallaby caps.

Beale would be the first Aboriginal player, and 12th Wallaby overall, to do so.

“I’m still out injured – I just landed back in Australia four days ago,” he said.

“I’m getting some scan results back and a rehab program sorted for Sydney.

“The medical staff are saying eight weeks to get me back fitting fit with some running volume in my legs.

“I’m hoping to be available for the latter stages of The Rugby Championships.”

That would set up a return against trans-Tasman rivals the All Blacks in September.

The injury that often ends the playing days of many veterans has given Beale time to reflect on going out on his own terms rather than club rugby 15,000kms from home.

“It also made me more aware of where I needed to be at back end of career and that’s represent my country at the highest level while I can,” he said.

“I’ve come home to play my part in achieving things I want to achieve in the game.

“There are a few accolades to focus on. I’ve always said another World Cup would be nice. And the Bledisloe…it could be the last (chance to win it).”

  • Story by Andrew Mathieson