Hunt continues to shine in AFL at Sun

By Guy Hand,

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    If Karmichael Hunt isn’t a bona fide AFL player now, he will be soon, says his Gold Coast coach Guy McKenna.

    Much maligned for the size of his pay packet, compared to his ability when he switched from rugby league, Hunt produced his best performance on Saturday in his third season at the Suns.

    Hunt combined brute strength and good touch against North Melbourne, more than holding his own in the midfield to silence those who thought the former Brisbane NRL fullback would be an expensive code-swap flop.

    It is the 25-year-old’s second excellent performance in the Suns’ past three matches.

    Instead of queuing up to whack him, AFL identities are praising and respecting him.

    Former Richmond great Matthew Richardson and ex-Collingwood coach Mick Malthouse were among those echoing North coach Brad Scott’s comments after Hunt’s 16-possession performance in the Suns’ loss to the Kangaroos on Saturday.

    “Anyone who has criticised Karmichael Hunt over the journey should be eating their words and should be apologising to him because, on that performance, he’s a bona fide AFL midfielder,” Scott said.

    McKenna cautioned Hunt still had work to do, but had come a long way since linking with the Suns midway through their 2010 VFL season and looking a fish out of water in his AFL debut last year.

    “He’s an amazing person – a very driven person. He knows he was probably 600th or 700th player in the (AFL) list, probably our 50th player at one stage too,” McKenna told the Seven Network’s AFL Game Day on Sunday.

    “But he’s fought his way into our midfield.

    “We talk about the blink factor – how tough it is in there – he just doesn’t blink.

    “He’s gone to another level. I don’t know (if he’s) bona fide – give him another one or two years and we can say bona fide.”

    Hunt, who was added to the Suns’ leadership group at the start of this season, has also shown the most prized of traits in modern AFL – versatility.

    He has proved himself able to play either in defence, tackle strongly and gather contested ball in midfield, or perform around the clearances.

    McKenna, whose Suns remain winless despite pushing Essendon and North in recent weeks, says he’s comfortable with where his own contract discussions sit.

    McKenna’s deal expires at the end of the season, with Gold Coast’s board set to decide later in the year on their inaugural coach’s future.

    “The development and the improvement in the list and our performances,” McKenna said when asked how the board indicated it would assess whether to offer him a new contract.

    “I would think any board in the country would do the same.

    “So I’m not offended by it, I’m not taken aback by it, I’m welcoming it because it’s going to improve me and it’s going to improve our footy club.”

    © AAP 2018

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    The Crowd Says (33)

    • April 30th 2012 @ 4:50am
      Toa said | April 30th 2012 @ 4:50am | ! Report

      Karmichael when asked about criticism he faced from disgruntle NRL & AFL traditionalist late last year…..” In their defence they don’t know me”….Its not so much about silencing his critics its more about converting the over zealous punter to remain patient theres seem to be lack of it when it comes to karmichael & Issy.

      • April 30th 2012 @ 9:25pm
        Bludger said | April 30th 2012 @ 9:25pm | ! Report

        What would Billy Slater cost? He would be a handy midfield type.

        It appears the NRL maybe prime for recruiting territory for AFL.

    • April 30th 2012 @ 9:40am
      Norm said | April 30th 2012 @ 9:40am | ! Report

      No NRL supporter wants Hunt or Izzy to succeed. The last thing they want is for AFL to be accepted in Sydney. They still hang onto the bizarre notion that Rugby League is the only sport that real Sydney people follow. So much for being an international city!

      • April 30th 2012 @ 9:30pm
        Bludger said | April 30th 2012 @ 9:30pm | ! Report

        It is odd that it is such an inward looking city. Our own game of football, Australia football has been around FAR longer than rugby league but they have this misguided notion that because it is homegrown it is inferior to English public school games. Odd.

    • April 30th 2012 @ 2:15pm
      Macca said | April 30th 2012 @ 2:15pm | ! Report

      I did not see Hunts game on the weekend but 1 thing jumped out at me fromthis article “16 possession game”. I know some respected AFL identities have raved about his game and the one against Essendon (where he apparently did a good job on Jobe Watson despite Watson despite Watson being named Essendons best) but how many other midfielders would be given rave reviews for a 16 possession game?

      Could someone advise who he was opposed to, his time spent in the midfield and on the ground and any other pertinent stats that demonstrate the quality of his game.

      • April 30th 2012 @ 3:41pm
        dan said | April 30th 2012 @ 3:41pm | ! Report

        I don’t know about pertinent stats and all that, but Karmichael will never be accused of trying to play ‘bruise-free football’.

        • April 30th 2012 @ 3:59pm
          Macca said | April 30th 2012 @ 3:59pm | ! Report

          Great Insight Dan, I’ll mark him down for a brownlow now based on that.

          How many tackles did he lay?

          • April 30th 2012 @ 11:34pm
            Ian Whitchurch said | April 30th 2012 @ 11:34pm | ! Report

            Macca,

            Hunt’s ability to not play bruise free football, and by example drive the new club full of boys to not be a weak, pathetic, leaderless rabble like Melbourne 2008-2011, is worth at least a million bucks to the club.

            Simply, he has helped define the new club’s culture to include toughness and a hard edge, and Im not even including the example he has shown on the training track, by literally running his arse off.

            When, after all, was the last time a Melbourne player told a trainer to look for his teeth when he charged back into the fray ? Im guessing around the mid-1950s, myself.

            But you are emotionally invested in Hunt being incapable of playing top-level Australian Rules football. There have been too many whines, too many carping posts for you to back down now.

            And so you carp and you whine, and refuse to acknowledge the emergence of a player who will change the way the game is played.

          • May 1st 2012 @ 9:18am
            Macca said | May 1st 2012 @ 9:18am | ! Report

            Ian any intelligent player where a mouth guard these days so it might of been a while.

            And I don’t think I ever said he couldn’t play at the top level, I siad the moeny being paid to him for his ability is ridiculous, the opportunities given to him regarding game time when compared to his talent where inequitable (which has been supported by Mckenna’s comments) and his reent “great games” have been over blown when you look at the Stats.

            Look at Norths midfield and their stats in the last game, they have a lot of 3rd year players in the midfield and Hunt must of been opposed to one of them and all of their stats are better than Hunts. Take Cunnington 23 possessions, 7 marks, 4 tackles and a goal compared with Hunts 16 possesions, 3 marks & 4 tackles. Where is the fanfare for Cunnington?

            Also GCS could of picked up Duigan or Magner or any of the other mature age recruits and got a hard physical body for much less than $1m if it was all about what he can do on the field.

            A player who will change the way the game is played, come on Ian now who is showing their emotional investment, if Hunt is still playing by 2015 I will be very surprised let alone had any impact on the game style.

        • Roar Guru

          April 30th 2012 @ 4:03pm
          The Cattery said | April 30th 2012 @ 4:03pm | ! Report

          No, Hunt has definitely delivered on that front, and it’s something the Suns probably needed more than anything else.

          Macca – I half agree that it’s going a bit over the top to rave about 16 possesions for a midfielder, but it’s a case of who it is and where he has come from, and in that context, you have to say: well done in getting your 16 possessions.

          At some point, maybe next season, everyone has to start forgetting his history, and judging him like a 3rd year Suns player, and then a 4th year Suns player, etc.

          I think that’s a natural progression, but for the moment, you have to say: well done Karmichael, bloody good effort.

          I think Bluey’s comments were quite measured, about Karmichael having to battle with being the 700th best player in the AFL, and at one stage being the 50th best player on the Suns list. He probably hasn’t worked his way up to far on the AFL list, but he definitely has worked his way up the Suns list, you’d have to say that he is now in their top 30 players (that might say a lot about the Suns list, but that’s a discussion for another day).

          • April 30th 2012 @ 4:17pm
            Macca said | April 30th 2012 @ 4:17pm | ! Report

            The cattery – he is only now getting to be in their top 30 players and yet he is an automatic selection each week? SO which super talented young bloke is he keeping out of the side?

            And he has improved but put anyone in the same situation and you would see improvement and in a lot of ways he has significant advantages over other first year players, he had played professional sport at an elite level.

            Should we compare him to Zach Touhy from the blues for example? He got 12 disposals 5 marks and 2 tackles playing as a defender on the weekend and has played the game about the same length of time as Hunt but didn’t have the same level of professionalism behind him and had to relocate half way around the world and doesn’t get paid $1m a year.

            • Roar Guru

              April 30th 2012 @ 4:50pm
              The Cattery said | April 30th 2012 @ 4:50pm | ! Report

              Macca
              what can I say, Zac Touhy is a gun! He’s definitely the sort of player that should make clubs try harder in Ireland.

              With Hunt, well, the player he is keeping out is maybe 19 years old, still bulking up, still learning to cope with the physicality of AFL footy – Hunt doesn’t have that problem, he can take it, and he can dish it out, and the Suns need that!!

              • April 30th 2012 @ 4:59pm
                Macca said | April 30th 2012 @ 4:59pm | ! Report

                My point about the player he is keeping out is that clearly from the time he got there there have been better players on the list and still is, and that is coming from McKenna but he is given the opportunity to play what has been larlgely uninspiring footy week in week out and learn on the job, the more talented players have to slog it out in the 2’s.

                Yes they may not be as physically developed but given they ar emore talented they will probably develop quicker in the AFL than the QAFL and quicker than Hunt and go further than Hunt. TO me the Hunt profile and story are being put ahead of list development. After all when all the draft picks bodies mature in the next year or 2 where will Hunt fit in?

                Touhy is a gun but again why the big fuss about Hunt but Touhy’s performance is viewed as stock standard?

              • Roar Guru

                April 30th 2012 @ 5:13pm
                The Cattery said | April 30th 2012 @ 5:13pm | ! Report

                I agree that Hunt is getting far more attention than Touhy who really is the true success story (but younger and coming from a more relevant background, in a way).

                Yes, there is an argument to be had that Hunt is getting more chances to develop – the normal route would have been two years in the reserves – but with 22 players per week – is it a huge cost that the Suns are wearing? (denying a development opportunity for a skinny 19 yo)

                Check out the video below – the truth is that there are only a handful of players on the Suns list right now that can do what he’s doing in and under, taking punishment along the way – so it can be argued both ways.

              • April 30th 2012 @ 5:20pm
                Macca said | April 30th 2012 @ 5:20pm | ! Report

                Yeah I had a look at the video and he is hard at it (which again is odd given Demetriou seems to be determined to remove body contact from the sport) but the Suns aren’t going to play finals for a few years, they aren’t going to in many games this year or next so why not put the time into the player who is going to give you the biggest beenfit when the team is up and about.

                If he was playing a key position maybe but as a midfielder surely they have better.

          • April 30th 2012 @ 5:12pm
            Toa said | April 30th 2012 @ 5:12pm | ! Report

            Blueys other comment was he doesn’t blink which leads me to think most of the credit is directed towards his fearless nature of extracting & disposing quick ball. Both Essendon & Norths game displayed his ability to rattle the opposition midfielders through hard & fair play & at the time was creating that belief amongst his team mates. AFL coaches sense this hence why Brad scott found it necessary to pay credit to him.

            For fantasy football he’s definitely not your man in saying that i reckon Gary Abeltt would trade his multiple 40 plus possessions for 16 disposals if it meant a couple of wins.

      • Roar Guru

        April 30th 2012 @ 9:10pm
        Redb said | April 30th 2012 @ 9:10pm | ! Report

        So you didn’t see Hunt’s game but are commenting trotting out the same tripe. Carlton lost 10 days ago by the way πŸ™‚

    • April 30th 2012 @ 4:19pm
      dan said | April 30th 2012 @ 4:19pm | ! Report

      could I have that brownlow in a combo please, with a large chocolate thick shake instead of a coke. cheers.

      • April 30th 2012 @ 5:05pm
        BigAl said | April 30th 2012 @ 5:05pm | ! Report

        You should Tweet this – definately have more success than posting here – and it’s a perfect fit .

    • Roar Guru

      April 30th 2012 @ 5:05pm
      The Cattery said | April 30th 2012 @ 5:05pm | ! Report

      I’m not sure if this will work, but here are a few clips on Hunt from the AFL site, if it doesn’t go there directly, look under: Hunting Kangaroos:

      http://www.afl.com.au/tabid/16931/Default.aspx#fixtureid=7699&tab=Recap

      Now I’ll tell you the big thing that I’m noticing that was completely absent last year: Hunt is getting in under the pack, trapping that ball, happy to cop whatever comes his way in and under, and he now has a second effort on him. Last year, if a player or the ball was a few metres away from him, he was out of it, but he’s now learnt to get involved and stay involved while the ball is in his zone – it’s very clear – it’s a noticeable improvement.

      Plus, quite obviously, he is a strong boy, and he has the makings of a Max Rooke-like wrecking ball approach. He will start to attract some attention, but you know what – he can handle it!

      Izzy hasn’t learned that yet, he is like Karmichael last year, no second effort yet, but also he is 12 months behind in his conditioning. We have to understand that at this level of footy, it’s hard work coming back for seconds and thirds in a short space of time.

      Izzy is where Karmichael was this time last year – by half way through the third quarter, completley out of puff and his legs are feeling like jelly.

      • April 30th 2012 @ 5:11pm
        Macca said | April 30th 2012 @ 5:11pm | ! Report

        Again why allow the 50th best player on the list to learn this while keeping the 25th in the 2’s?

        And which other clubs would hunt get a game for right now?

        • Roar Guru

          April 30th 2012 @ 5:14pm
          The Cattery said | April 30th 2012 @ 5:14pm | ! Report

          GWS?? πŸ™‚

        • April 30th 2012 @ 5:16pm
          Toa said | April 30th 2012 @ 5:16pm | ! Report

          Ask Brad Scott he might be able to tell you.

          • April 30th 2012 @ 5:30pm
            Macca said | April 30th 2012 @ 5:30pm | ! Report

            I couldn’t see him playing before Cunnington, Bastinac, Swallow or Ziebell let alone Harvey or Wells.

            How many disposals does that video actually show him getting, 2 maybe 3. He is a strong bloke who is finally startng to use that strength that is about it.

            • Roar Guru

              April 30th 2012 @ 6:01pm
              The Cattery said | April 30th 2012 @ 6:01pm | ! Report

              Out of curiosity, I decided to check his supercoach figures. After five games he is averaging 55.4 pts, which is a bit better than I expected, considering that he had one disastrous game where he didn’t touch it. He has increased in value by $50k.

              It’s interesting to see who he has around him, noting that he is still listed as a defender:
              Tom Lonergan is averaging 54 pts after 5 games
              Easton Wood is averaging 54 pts after 5 games
              Brandon Ellis is averaging 55.4 pts after 5 games

              Brandon Ellis I think is a relatively new player and he has almost doubled his value (should have got on to him).

              Easton Wood is interesting, he’s been in the system for a few years now, and I would regard him as a fairly tough player who runs straight at the ball, but for a half-back flanker, he doesn’t seem to get a lot of the ball – I know – I got my fingers burnt with him last season!

              And Adam Selwood sits only a few spots above Hunt, so he’s in pretty decent company.

              I was just checking Hunt’s stats, amongst his disposals were 4 tackles and 3 marks, which is ok.

              But who is this new kid called Horsley?? He had 8 tackles, the highest of any player from either side on the day.

              Looks like Brennan finally stepped up in the absence of Ablett and Rischitelli and had a good game.

              That’s the other thing, there were some big outs for the Suns, and they did very, very well to lead at half time.

              • May 1st 2012 @ 9:20am
                Macca said | May 1st 2012 @ 9:20am | ! Report

                Cattery, he might be listed as a defender but he isn’t playing as a defender.

            • April 30th 2012 @ 7:06pm
              Toa said | April 30th 2012 @ 7:06pm | ! Report

              Macca,

              That maybe your problem you “can’t see” your blinded by being bitter towards the unconventional opportunity karmichael was given. It was the vision of Mark Browing, Scott Clayton, Jason Stevens & Nathan Buckley who endorse that Hunt’s physical & mental makeup was worth pursuing.

              Put Hunt against your top 50 drafts including his young team mates & mention to him there’s no room. Without any weak squealing he’ll roll up his sleeves work his behind and make sure his name is announce in your starting line up….either you have or you don’t.

              • Roar Guru

                April 30th 2012 @ 9:06pm
                The Cattery said | April 30th 2012 @ 9:06pm | ! Report

                This is the thing that was clear from the get got – he works so hard, so committed, focused, this dude has incredible mental toughness – he’s already half way there just with his make up.

                A huge part of the game comprises aggression, competitiveness, willingness to contest, courage and mental toughness – he has it in spades.

                And Toa is right – when the news first came out, we laughed at how they checked him out, sounded like a lunch time kick around, but it looks like they really did check him out, not just physically, but his head space as well.

              • May 1st 2012 @ 9:05am
                Macca said | May 1st 2012 @ 9:05am | ! Report

                TOa – It’s not me who is being blind, I am viewing Hunt objctively unlike those who constantly paint qa rosy picture of everything GCS & GWS.

                Yes he is a hard worker but that is not what has got him the bulk of his 25 games, he is a marketing tool. I will also ask again in 2 years when all the other top draft picks mature will Hunt in the SUns top 22, especially considering he isn’t in their top 22 according to their coach this year.

    • Roar Pro

      April 30th 2012 @ 5:49pm
      Rodney Penny said | April 30th 2012 @ 5:49pm | ! Report

      I think Hunt has come a long way. He seems to be settling in at AFL level and this is only his 25th game or so in the AFL. He’s playing pretty well for a guy in his second season at the top and with only two or three years experience with a Sherrin at any level. He gathered 21 possesions in the Q-Clash and 16 a couple days back. To the doubters, I dare you to find even the highest of draft picks over the last couple of years to top Hunt’s statistics. Maybe only Dave Swallow and a handful of others. And let’s not forget, most of those guys have had a footy in their hands since they were four or five years old. Think about it.

      • Roar Guru

        April 30th 2012 @ 6:04pm
        The Cattery said | April 30th 2012 @ 6:04pm | ! Report

        In fairness, there would be stacks of first year players achieving those sorts of stats, far, far too many to mention – but I agree that they come with a good grounding in the game.

      • May 1st 2012 @ 9:07am
        Macca said | May 1st 2012 @ 9:07am | ! Report

        ROdney do even the slightest bit of research and you will see Hunts stats don’t match any number of top 20 draft picks of the last few years.

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