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Karmichael Hunt to join Gold Coast AFL team


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    Brisbane rugby league star Karmichael Hunt is switching to play Australian Rules with new AFL franchise Gold Coast in a move which will rock the NRL.

    In an unprecedented cross-code switch, the Gold Coast outfit is to announce on Wednesday it plans to acquire Hunt, who comes off contract with the Broncos this season.

    He will probably begin his new career in the VFL next year, with Gold Coast likely to play in that competition rather than the QAFL before joining the AFL as the 17th franchise in 2011.

    It is believed to be the first time a rugby league international has switched to play Australian Rules at the elite level.

    The move will intensify the fierce turf war between the strongest football codes in Australia, with rugby league in danger of suffering further raids on its most talented players, especially if Hunt makes a successful transition.

    Fellow Test players Greg Inglis, Billy Slater and Israel Folau are other obvious targets for AFL clubs.

    Hunt played some Australian Rules as a schoolboy in Brisbane, attracting the attention of Queensland AFL scouts, before joining the Broncos as a 17-year-old in 2004.

    The Auckland-born fullback has since played 10 State of Origin matches for Queensland and 11 Tests for Australia.

    With Hunt’s contract with the Broncos up at the end of the 2009 NRL season, the 22-year-old’s future has been a hot topic in recent months.

    He knocked back a $1.2 million three-year deal from the Broncos earlier this year and his manager David Riolo has been overseas looking at his options.

    There had been speculation he could move to Japan to play rugby, but Hunt will make his shock code-switch announcement at a press conference on the Gold Coast at 10.30am Wednesday AEST.

    © AAP 2018

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    The Crowd Says (217)

    • July 29th 2009 @ 12:24pm
      Gibbo said | July 29th 2009 @ 12:24pm | ! Report

      Never heard of him… he any relation to Rex?

    • July 29th 2009 @ 12:25pm
      Jameswm said | July 29th 2009 @ 12:25pm | ! Report

      After seeing the heading, I thought this article was a gee-up. Are you for real?

    • Roar Guru

      July 29th 2009 @ 12:27pm
      Chop said | July 29th 2009 @ 12:27pm | ! Report

      Yep it’s serious James, I had written something saying exactly this when I heard about it at 8am but it hasn’t been posted yet, probably a waste of time now.

    • Roar Guru

      July 29th 2009 @ 12:29pm
      Dogs Of War said | July 29th 2009 @ 12:29pm | ! Report

      The AFL will be hoping it isn’t just 500K a season thrown away. And if it doesn’t work out for Hunt, what next? I can’t see League nor Union throwing the big sums at him after being out of the game for 3 years, he will have to work hard to re-establish himself in either code on an incentive type contract.

      Lot of money for the AFL just to get some publicity for the new GC side, that will only attract non-AFL viewers most times, once, for the curiosity factor.

    • July 29th 2009 @ 12:29pm
      megatron said | July 29th 2009 @ 12:29pm | ! Report

      Massive news. I’d be worried if I was the NRL.

      • Roar Guru

        July 29th 2009 @ 12:40pm
        Chop said | July 29th 2009 @ 12:40pm | ! Report

        The NRL will not be worried in the slightest. They have had a surge of people leaving the NRL for Union and UK Superleague for years and if anything the game is still getting better and better which is why their players are targeted.

        I know this will rub the Union and AFL extremists the wrong way but the NRL players are amongst the best athletes in the world (not that Union and AFL players aren’t) and the NRL players have lots of attributes that both AFL and Union find attractive which is why is it targeted. The NRL can’t match the money so they leave, not necessarily because the players think it’s a better game(some may think that), but they are maximising their earnings in a limited lifespan.

        • Roar Guru

          July 29th 2009 @ 12:43pm
          Dogs Of War said | July 29th 2009 @ 12:43pm | ! Report

          Not to mention that it shows younger players who are at a crossroads in choosing a sport, that the NRL can offer you an opportunity if you are good enough, to have a go at any sport like Union or AFL.

          AFL has more to fear, as there isn’t a surge of AFL players coming the opposite way, in fact, once you can’t cut it in the AFL, your career as a professional player is all but over. While the NRL offers opportunities overseas and the like.

          As time goes on, kids will be more attune to this situation, League, Union and Soccer provide much better career paths than AFL does.

    • Roar Guru

      July 29th 2009 @ 12:32pm
      Dogs Of War said | July 29th 2009 @ 12:32pm | ! Report

      Worried about what exactly? SBW and Gasnier were much better players, with much bigger profiles, and no one misses then now. Just means more opportunities for young players coming through the Toyota Cup system.

      • July 29th 2009 @ 2:43pm
        Dave said | July 29th 2009 @ 2:43pm | ! Report

        NSW missed Gasnier and Gower in state of origin this year

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