Okay, I’d heard all these rumours about Karmichael Hunt not being happy and talking about switching codes, but I didn’t expect him to switch to this code. In 2011 Hunt will be playing in the AFL for a new Gold Coast club, in a move which is unprecedented as far as I know.
So why would he do such a thing? Well, I have my theories…
Why, look at a quote from this Livenews article about Hunt’s contract negotiations earlier this year
I’m in a wonderful position where I have the ability to play at the elite level in other sports which are played internationally.
Of course, this was when Hunt was fishing around for a Rugby Union contract. I suspect the ARU have finally realised that forking out loads of money on prospects who haven’t even been playing their sport recently is a tad too risky a proposition. So Hunt has now turned his attention to the Aussie Rules, a sport with a minimalist approach to rep football, to say the least (thus rendering his comments a load of BS).
Nonetheless, I can understand why Hunt would leave League for footballing reasons. For one thing, he’s clearly down the rep ladder behind Billy Slater for State of Origin and probably Kurt Gidley and Brett Stewart for Australia as well. As a result he’s trapped in a limbo of sorts, being good but not quite good enough to be considered one of the greats. He’s won a Priemiership and rep honours, so there’s not actually much left for him to achieve in the game, and he still hasn’t entered his physical prime yet.
Personally, I see this as a massive PR stunt on the part of the AFL and their new Gold Coast club. If the AFL are part subsidising a contract that would make Hunt one of the highest earners in a league in which he hasn’t ever played, then it’s pretty clear that they want to use his star power to draw in crowds in what the Titans have been consolidating as League territory. As the ARU could probably tell them, that’s not necessarily a foolproof plan. Also, if Hunt is actually successful they’ve set themselves up to receive a hell of a gloating from League fans.