Scott Gale happy to be home and back playing Premier Rugby

By Tim Mosey. Photo: Brendan Hertel/QRU Media

It didn’t take former QLD Reds halfback Scott Gale long to feel comfortable again in Premier Rugby.

The UQ halfback scored a hatrick in round one to help the Red Heavies claim a tight win over Easts, but missed his side’s round two clash to play for King’s College in the Hong Kong 10s.

Gale made his Super Rugby debut as a 21-year old but fell out of favour at Ballymore at the end of 2016 and signed a one year deal in Japan with Top League side Kamaishi Seawaves.

“I’d just been let go by the Reds and that coincided with doing my shoulder. So it all happened at once,” Gale told Rugby News.

“The halfbacks in Super Rugby were already established and had signed multi year deals. This (the Japanese deal) was a one year deal and I thought I’ve got nothing to lose.”

“I was excited to go over there, experience something new, learn a new culture and play some different footy. I thought it was a good opportunity for a year to do something I normally wouldn’t do.

Gale got the chance to play with a side full of international talent including former Stormers outside back Joe Pietersen and former Brumbies back rower Chris Alcock.

“The way the Japanese play their rugby is certainly different. They play a significantly more structured game than I was used to.

“By the end though the other foreign players and I had a bit of a licence to play a little more loosely. Being a halfback enabled me to have a bit more free reign if I saw something on.”

But the lure of the home comforts of Brisbane was too much for Gale to resist and he has returned this season to the green playing fields of UQ.

“I had an offer or two here and there but I was missing home a bit and wanted to get back and enjoy playing rugby with the boys again.

“I’m the type of guy who loves being home and doing what I know in a familiar place.

Gale’s decision to step outside his comfort zone and challenge himself to play rugby in a non-English speaking competition will certainly hold him in good stead in the future.

The 23-year old admits he still has ambitions of playing Super Rugby again but his immediate focus is on UQ and the 2018 Premier Rugby season.

“The goal is to play Super Rugby again. Having said that, it’s not at the forefront of my mind. I want to come home and get back to enjoying the footy I was playing with UQ before going overseas, and enjoy playing with my mates in QLD.

“If I can do that hopefully something additional may come later.”

Interestingly enough Gale notices a difference with the Premier Rugby landscape to when he last played in 2016.

“I’ve noticed a lot of turnover in the teams. There seems to be a lot of youth in the sides now even compared to two seasons ago.

“Once you used to have an idea of who you were playing against, but now it seems there are a lot of fresh faces in the competition. It’s intriguing.

“When I came to the club in 2012 the Premier Grade side was dominated by guys in their late 20’s and early 30’s, now it is guys in their early 20’s.”

But while player turnover has been high at UQ, Gale said the consistent impact of coach Mick Heenan has kept the club on the right track.

“With Heeno you get the consistency of the same core philosophies which have worked for us over the last six or so years.

“You know what you are going to get week in week out, with some minor tweaks here and there.”

Gale and UQ take on Bond at home on Saturday afternoon.