Karmichael Hunt’s AFL season over
As debate raged over the merits of Israel Folau’s AFL switch, the Gold Coast Suns toasted the success of Karmichael Hunt after confirming the code hopper had played his last game for 2012.
Suns football manager Marcus Ashcroft said Hunt would not be risked for their final two games after succumbing to an upper chest injury suffered almost three weeks ago against Melbourne.
A war of words has erupted over Folau after his Greater Western Sydney coach Kevin Sheedy took to Twitter on Wednesday to defend the multi-million dollar convert.
Sharing stats “a little seagull” provided him, Sheedy cheekily pointed out that one of Folau’s most vocal critics – ex-Geelong enforcer Cameron Mooney – statistically had a worse debut year than the much maligned code hopper.
“Mooney’s average disposals in first year for NM (North Melbourne) in 1999 were 3.3 compared to Izzy 5.9 in his first year,” he tweeted.
“Mooney had 29 hitouts and took 14 marks in 1999. Izzy has had 61 hitouts and taken 20 marks so far this year.
“All this in a side that has won two games as opposed to a premiership. By my calculations Izzy has had a better debut year than Mooney.”
Critics have been sharpening their knives after Folau collected just four touches in his last two games for GWS.
But Ashcroft said there should be no argument that Hunt had impressed this year.
“Of course there is more scrutiny because the spotlight is on him,” he told AAP.
“But I think everyone including people outside the media would say that he has been a success this year.
“He has definitely improved on last year and after a switch (from defence) to the midfield.
“We were always confident about him but I would say he has even pleasantly surprised us.
“He made a big impact on games, not on sheer weight of possessions but with his physical impact on contests.
“He was a tower of strength for us. There is a good reason he is in our leadership group.”
Hunt played 18 games this year – two more than his debut season – but the Suns did not add to that tally to ensure he was in full fitness for 2013.
“If he copped another big hit to that area it would be pretty serious. We were told that it might block his airway,” said Ashcroft, who ruled out surgery.
It draws the curtain on a season in which Hunt emerged as a bona fide AFL player.
His highlights reel included bullying what was then a high flying Essendon in round three and kicking a post-siren goal against Richmond in round 16 to seal their season-opening win.
In contrast, Folau was ranked 415th out of 416 players to have notched 10 games or more in 2012 based on stats.
“He doesn’t know where to run and he doesn’t know what to do out there. The more and more I watch I think you’re not for our game,” Mooney said this week before Sheedy returned fire.© AAP 2013
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