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Will Hunt, Folau be remembered as two of the best?

97 Have your say

    Karmichael Hunt of the Gold Coast in action during the AFL NAB Cup

    Karmichael Hunt of the Gold Coast in action during the AFL NAB Cup Round 02 match between the GWS Giants and the Gold Coast Suns at Blacktown Olympic Park, Blacktown.

    With Karmicheal Hunt revealing he has no plans to return to league, and Israel Folau emerging as a rare marketing commodity and dead-eye dick, the question must now be asked of our code jumpers: will they one day be regarded as two of Australia’s best sportsmen?

    The question is purely speculation, but I think it’s timely. All of the talk centred around them to date has been: can they succeed, or how long will the experiment take to fail?

    But really we should be lording their achievements already. Both represented their respective league teams to the highest level and at Origin, and one is an international success.

    For my mind, the gamble in drafting them has already paid off for both the players and their clubs. After just one year at AFL level, Hunt has shown as much promise as any highly rated draftee – and were it not for his circumstances, we would be talking about his potential for being an elite player.

    I know that’s a premature claim, maybe even a little extreme, but I genuinely believe the man can be a strong contender in a growing Suns line-up, once his preferred spot is figured out and his game instincts improve.

    Folau was known as one of Australia’s young shining stars in sports before he became known only as a code jumper. And really, he deserves this title again. Were he not an ex-NRL player and working for AFL selection, there would be some serious attention on him from clubs as a late round pick. His size, fitness and remarkable long kicking ability (which probably came as a shock even to him) would have made him potential roughy in the draft.

    This is all mute conjecture when we factor in the pair’s respective ages and Hunt’s seemingly chronic cramping late in games, but it’s worth discussing.

    If Folau keeps up the way he is, he could be a valuable tall forward for GWS Giants, and thanks to his age, has a longer career prospectus than Hunt. In my humble opinion, he should be the next hard hitting tackling machine operating at the feet of Sam Day and Charly Dixon as a medium forward/rover.

    In two to three years time, when both GWS and Gold Coast are looking finals bound and the two ‘code jumpers’ are in their teams’ best 22s, I hope that the talk turns from how much they’re paid, whether they’re just marketing tools and, importantly, whether they’ll stay in the code (“because they’ve switched once they’ll do it again,” to quote some of the ‘gurus’ I’ve discussed this with) and we start asking the question: are they up there with the best?

    To represent two codes at top level (three in Hunt’s case) and be successful is a feat no other Australian athlete has achieved.

    Before the comments come screaming in, I am well aware that Hunt is a Kiwi by birth and Folau Tongan. But the fact that they have played their top level sports here means that we can, rightly, regard them as Australian sportsmen, and, importantly, serves as an example of the opportunities Australian sports can offer.

    These two should be seen as more than just the topic of puff opinion pieces like this one. They should be stars of the future, and remembered in Australia’s sporting pantheon as some of our greats.

    They should serve as examples to young sportsmen and women from all backgrounds, that your achievements are only limited by your goals, and your goals only limited by your imagination.

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    The Crowd Says (97)

    • July 27th 2011 @ 4:21am
      JVGO said | July 27th 2011 @ 4:21am | ! Report

      I thought izzy was Samoan.

      • Roar Guru

        July 27th 2011 @ 8:05am
        The Cattery said | July 27th 2011 @ 8:05am | ! Report

        Izzy is definitely Tongan, he has two cousins who have played for the Tongan national team.

        That Hunt managed to play three different football codes at the highest professional level in the space of two years is a remarkable feat and deserves to be lauded – it’s unlikely we will see that ever again – even if he remains an average player, what he has achieved is alreaady noteworthy.

        Izzy is an absolute natural, and if he can become a successful key forward in the AFL, the Showgrounds won’t be big enough to hold the crowds.

        • Roar Guru

          July 27th 2011 @ 8:44am
          Redb said | July 27th 2011 @ 8:44am | ! Report

          I think your right Cattery, Folau as a full forward is a potential crowd puller compared to Hunt as a backman or midfielder. I just cant see Hunt ever having the natural split second decision making required by the gun midfielders (Ablett, Judd,etc).

        • Roar Guru

          July 27th 2011 @ 8:48am
          peeeko said | July 27th 2011 @ 8:48am | ! Report

          seriously Cattery, are you a member of the AFL’s promotions and marketing department?

          • Roar Guru

            July 27th 2011 @ 8:53am
            Redb said | July 27th 2011 @ 8:53am | ! Report

            seriously peeeko, are you a cyber astro-turfer?

            • Roar Guru

              July 27th 2011 @ 5:40pm
              peeeko said | July 27th 2011 @ 5:40pm | ! Report

              no but i think that you may be sitting next to the cattery in the AFL promotions department

              • Roar Guru

                July 27th 2011 @ 10:12pm
                The Cattery said | July 27th 2011 @ 10:12pm | ! Report

                Have you looked around the various Roar threads the past week?

                More League threads dreaming of a TV rights payday.
                More soccer threads about how the A-League will be big one day.
                More rugby threads about how rugby needs to improve.

                Are you going to tell me that we get those sorts of AFL threads here on the Roar?

                If anything, it’s a whole lot of wishful thinking from people like you about the AFL being in decline, and a handful of AFL supporters reminding these same people that the various metrics still look quite healthy.

          • Roar Guru

            July 27th 2011 @ 10:04am
            The Cattery said | July 27th 2011 @ 10:04am | ! Report


            I’ve made two distinct points, and I’m not sure with which you are taking umbrage, so I will go over each in turn.

            1. Hunt.
            This comment was about Hunt the individual, nothing to do with the AFL or the game of Australian Football. Regardles of what people think of Hunt as a player in any of the three codes he has played, the important point is that he managed to play all three professionally in the space of two years.

            In the case of League, by the age of 23, he had achieved everything that one can achieve in the sport. He then was able to get off a plane and immediately help Biarritz to a cup appearance in one of the very best club rugby comps in the world, which I think is a great achievement. Within 10 months of returning to Australia, he had debuted in the AFL, and regardless of the extraordinary circumstances, he did it, no one else has done it, and it’s extremely unlikely that anyone would ever be able to manage it again in such a short time frame.

            So regardless of how good he is at any of the games, even if he is below average in all three of them – he has achieved something quite remarkable and has earned his name in the history books.

            I would go one step further, to my mind, his achievement is even more gobsmacking than what Cadel Evans has achieved.

            2. Izzy

            I said that if Izzy was successful as a key forward, the Showgrounds would not be big enough to hold the crowds.

            Sydney AFL audiences are a bit different to that of the rest of the country, but there is one attribute that we all share in common – we will come out in large numbers to watch the great full forwards.

            Over the last two decades, the Swans have had three clear peaks in their attendances, and on each of those occasions, they had one of the very best full forwards in the comp at those exact times.

            So I can say this with absolute confidence: if Izzy succeeds as a full forward, i.e. if he can stay in the top three of the goal kicking lists for six to eight years, he will drag an extra 10,000 people through the gates each home game on his own.

            • July 27th 2011 @ 1:27pm
              punter said | July 27th 2011 @ 1:27pm | ! Report

              Considering the Mayor of Geelong says that Cadel’s achievements has done more than anyone else to put Geelong on the map.
              So according to your assumption Hunt’s achievement greater than Cadel’s & Cadel greater than either of the Garry Abletts (father or Son) according to Mayor of Geelong.

              Abit of history about the Rugbies, there are quite afew dual internationals, in another word playing for their country (the highest honour possible) in both Rugby & Rugby League, BTW, Hunt is not one of them.
              Now, I haven’t followed how Hunt is going in AFL, but by your accounts, he’s pretty average.

              So you then rate this higher achievement.
              Hunt, achieved the highest honours, but no world beater in one sport. Played at club level with average success, certainly didn’t generate much publicity in another sport (like I said many have played both sports with far greater success) & finally very average in a 3rd sport.

              Cadel wins the Tour De France.

              Ummmm, I think you rate Cadel’s achievement very lowly, every right to.

              But back to the topic of the article in regards to Hunt, NO.

              • Roar Guru

                July 27th 2011 @ 1:32pm
                The Cattery said | July 27th 2011 @ 1:32pm | ! Report

                I haven’t said anything to contradict the honourable Lord Mayor’s view of Cadel’s achievements, and I never mentioned Ablett either.

                I said that Hunt has earned a place in history by being the first bloke to play three football codes professionally in the space of two years (at the highest club level), and that it’s unlikely someone will ever achieve that again (in the same short time frame – we’re talking 18 months).

                My opinion is that that is more gobsmacking than what Cadel has achieved. As great as Cadel’s achievements are, he dabbles in something that 99.99% of the first world does as a matter of course, he has achieved what he has done with a lot of help from his team mates (I would hope you understand how road cycling works), and he or someone else will win the Tour next year, and the year after – but no one will ever replicate what Hunt has done – ever.

              • July 27th 2011 @ 2:27pm
                punter said | July 27th 2011 @ 2:27pm | ! Report

                The Cattery as you said yourself he is an average AFL player.
                There are many players who has played for Australia in both Rugby League & Rugby union. This is something Hunt never did, so basically you are basing the fact that he has played in 3 sports at club level as his greatness despite only excelling in only one of them.
                I as you know have little knowledge on AFL & I think Garry Abblett (God) & son has achieved more than Hunt on the sporting field despite only winning Brownlows or premierships, but then this is only my very humble opinion & know little about AFL.

              • Roar Guru

                July 27th 2011 @ 2:33pm
                The Cattery said | July 27th 2011 @ 2:33pm | ! Report

                All notable achievements, but no one will ever replicate what Hunt has done inside 18 months – it will never happen again.

              • July 27th 2011 @ 2:38pm
                JVGO said | July 27th 2011 @ 2:38pm | ! Report

                Cattery are you really channelling Mia Freedman now? Even for you this argument is insanely ridiculous. Hunt would not be in the top 250 players to ever play RL. He is not even a RU international. To argue that Hunt is greater than Cadel on the basis of him playing AFL (pretty badly) merely shows how much you ridiculously overvalue the quality of the athletes and skills in the AFL. Please, I know you won’t back down, but sometimes you can make a complete fool of yourself.

              • July 27th 2011 @ 3:31pm
                punter said | July 27th 2011 @ 3:31pm | ! Report

                Something to aspire to, play 3 different sports at a decent level in the space of 18 months, 1 to a fairly decent standard, the other 2 in a very, very average way, yeah not too bad, but give me the the Tour De France winner anyday.

              • Roar Guru

                July 27th 2011 @ 3:36pm
                The Cattery said | July 27th 2011 @ 3:36pm | ! Report

                you enjoy watching a bunch of blokes riding a push bike in a big bunch – that’s fine, each to their own.

                I’m more impressed by Hunt playing three different football codes professionally in the space of 18 months than a bloke being able to ride a push bike – I know, it’s crazy!

              • July 27th 2011 @ 4:09pm
                punter said | July 27th 2011 @ 4:09pm | ! Report

                Yes very much so The Cattery, I would much prefer watching watching Cadel Evans winning the ‘Tour’ again next year than say Garry Abblett say attempt to leave AFL where he is a champion, to run around & be a sort of passenger for the Gold Coast Titans in RL & then run off to some French club where we have no visibility to play French Rugby. In an attempt to equal Karmichael Hunt.

                To each of their own. Abblett could get a nice pay rise playing in French Rugby.

              • Roar Guru

                July 27th 2011 @ 5:08pm
                The Cattery said | July 27th 2011 @ 5:08pm | ! Report


                I did not say Hunt is greater than Cadel, I said his achievement in playing three differnet football codes professionally within the space of 18 months is more gobsmacking.

                Many can ride a push bike, and there will be many more wishing to ride a push bike, and some of them will win the Tour, but no one will ever again replicate what Hunt has achieved – ever.

              • July 27th 2011 @ 5:42pm
                JVGO said | July 27th 2011 @ 5:42pm | ! Report

                You mentioned Hunt in the same breath as Cadel. Ridiculous. Hunt is only playing AFL as a marketing exercise. He would not be in the current Qld SOO team. He would not even be a top 5 player in the NRL in his position. Off the top of my head I could name at least 20 RL fullbacks better than him. He has done nothing noteworthy in RU. This whole idea that AFL is some supreme athletic contest and it’s players en masse are some bunch of athletic freaks and it takes freakish gifts even to play it badly is absurd and completely insupportable. It just means any mildly unbiased sports follower cannot take AFL supporters seriously after they have made these statements. The fact that he can play AFL is only gobsmacking if you overvalue the athletic nature of AFL Cattery. To most uninformed observers it is merely surprising that AFL is this easy to play.

              • Roar Guru

                July 27th 2011 @ 7:51pm
                The Cattery said | July 27th 2011 @ 7:51pm | ! Report

                Do you not see the irony?! Just as anyone can play Australian Football, anyone can ride a push bike! In fact, surely you’d agree that even more can ride a push bike!

                Fact remains, Hunt is the very first to play three different football codes professionally, all in the space of 18 months, and no one will ever achieve that again.

                But I’m certain someone will ride a push bike in the tour next year, and the year after that.

              • July 27th 2011 @ 8:07pm
                NY said | July 27th 2011 @ 8:07pm | ! Report


                You obviously have no idea how difficult is it to cycle up a steep mountain for many kilometres. I recommend you or any one of these AFL athletes you speak of try it. You won’t go past a few kms before your body is in absolute agony. I don’t know why you are bothering to show K Hunt in a good light. Let’s face it. He is a dud and everyone knows it. Next year Greg Inglis or Jarrad Hayne could do exactly the same thing he has done. No big deal.

              • July 27th 2011 @ 8:26pm
                JVGO said | July 27th 2011 @ 8:26pm | ! Report

                But ironiclly Cattery the fact is that Hunt is merely playing in the AFL as part of the AFL’s marketing strategy. You are in fact being gobsmacked by the absurdity of Demetriou’s marketing strategy not by Hunt’s ability as a footballer. To tell you the truth, though i don’t rate Hunt very highly as a footballer, I’m pretty gobsmacked by the way Demetriou and the AFL carry on too.

              • Roar Guru

                July 27th 2011 @ 9:02pm
                The Cattery said | July 27th 2011 @ 9:02pm | ! Report


                1. I used to follow the tour very closely 30 years ago when Phil Anderson was cycling. I got to know all about the yellow, green and dotted jersies long before even 99% of the Australian population even knew there was a tour, at a time when it took a lot of effort to follow it. Coincidentally, I gradually lost interest with the increasing exposure, and I’m sort of glad these days to disregard since a growing number of people now follow it because they think it’s the thing to do. Whenever the theatre goers move in, that’s a sure sign it’s time to move out.

                2. Yes, it’s gruelling, lots of things are gruelling, but I can respond to people like you, JVGO and Punter in the exact same way when they claim it’s easy to play AFL football – of course it’s easy – if you don’t mind gut running 16 km per game! As a spectator, there’s that bit more happening than a bunch of blokes riding a push bike – but that’s just a personal opinion, no need for anyone to get too excited.

                I simply repeat: Hunt has achieved something that will never be achieved again – ever.

                But someone will ride a push bike tomorrow.

              • July 27th 2011 @ 10:46pm
                p.Tah said | July 27th 2011 @ 10:46pm | ! Report

                Cattery, what Hunt has achieved is undoubtedly impressive, but you can’t say his feat will never be repeated. Brian Carney played Gaelic Football as a junior, rugby League in the NRL, super league and represented Ireland as well as Great Britian. He played Rugby Union for Munster and represented Ireland. Admittedly his connections to Gaelic football are only as a junior but the potential was there to go further. If there is a will perhaps the feat can be repeated… Who knows?

              • Roar Guru

                July 27th 2011 @ 10:49pm
                The Cattery said | July 27th 2011 @ 10:49pm | ! Report

                p. tah

                That’s pretty good, but it’s still not three codes as a professional in the top tier all within 18 months.

                It’s the very short time frame which tells me it can never be repeated again.

              • July 28th 2011 @ 12:21am
                amazonfan said | July 28th 2011 @ 12:21am | ! Report

                Cattery, I may be accused of just being another pro-AFL poster, but I completely understand your point about Hunt’s playing three professional sports in 18 months. 😀

              • July 28th 2011 @ 8:32am
                punter said | July 28th 2011 @ 8:32am | ! Report

                Elleyse Perry has represented Australia in both cricket & football, both very different sports. I know, yes there are many in the past who had played at a high level playing RL & Cricket or Aussie rules & cricket, pretty impressive yes, much more so than Hunt. There are many who has played in both Rugbies, there are code swappers in the Rugbies happening every year, some better athletes than Hunt becomes dual internationals, so no big deal there. But yes Hunt playing AFL as a marketing tool makes him special. Maybe to Aussie rules fans, this is a great performance, but to normal sports fans, being good in 1 sport, average in another & poor in another does not make you unique.
                Cadel anytime.

              • Roar Guru

                July 28th 2011 @ 8:38am
                The Cattery said | July 28th 2011 @ 8:38am | ! Report

                Thanks Amazon.

                Perry’s performance is to be lauded as well. She too is the first to achieve what she has achieved, and there’s a good chance it won’t be achieved again.

              • July 28th 2011 @ 8:59am
                ChrisH said | July 28th 2011 @ 8:59am | ! Report

                Haha…JVGO frothing at the mouth again. It’s like he stumbles into the AFL section by accident every now and again, has a bad reaction and then disappears.

              • July 28th 2011 @ 9:33am
                JVGO said | July 28th 2011 @ 9:33am | ! Report

                Yeah, I made the mistake of taking Cattery seriously on this one. He is obviously just winding people up. Even he is not Mia Freedman stupid. Izzy and Hunt will no doubt go down as the 2 best RL players to ever play in the AFL. Enjoy their exploits.

              • Roar Guru

                July 28th 2011 @ 11:17am
                Redb said | July 28th 2011 @ 11:17am | ! Report

                I agree there is no comparison between Evans & Hunt. Cadel is on a different planet as an athlete. Endurance, strength & attitude – unstoppable.

                The stage 20 timetrial victory after a lazy 75 plus hours on competition was something to behold. Herculean peformance I havent seen anything in that stratosphere from Hunt but certainly respect his professionalism, attitude & courage to take on a new sport.

              • July 28th 2011 @ 8:09pm
                Toa said | July 28th 2011 @ 8:09pm | ! Report

                I firmly believe most have underestimated Hunts ability & the angle “Cattery” plays off certainly has substance.

                To shore up “The Cattery” argument and through my research Khunt age 17yrs & 3 months debut in a key position for the Broncos… hold onto that thought. Integrating and opposing some of the most fierce players let alone monstrous forward packs at a tender age of 17 is a walk in the park right? If that is true why haven’t we encounter more of them?

                Anti Karmichael critics will tell you “k” was average player that got through multiple seasons behind a great number 6 fair enough, but how do achieve numerous best back awards and finish in the top 4 every year at club level ? How do claim man of the match awards in high pressure Heineken cup games? particularly against season veterans such as Ryan O Gara and countless rugby internationals in a game that he tampered with at school.

                Next the AFL commentators are screaming for his blood, the 2010 post mortem regarding his debut performance was excruciating, 5 games on claims a number of best on ground honours as a backman and two as a midfielder in 2011 {reserves}. At this stage he is holding his own…..stay tune,be patient.

                The “Cadel” comparison might be a tad over the top & weather you rate “K” or not blind freddy can see the achievement accomplish in a short time is outstanding. Unless your of the opinion the talent you possess outweighs karmichael’s both physically & mentally, power to you…..what was your name again?

                Is Karmichael the best?…….No not yet apart from speculation and fantasy labels I cant find any facts that support other names….But hey have some fun and throw some out there.

              • Roar Guru

                July 28th 2011 @ 8:18pm
                The Cattery said | July 28th 2011 @ 8:18pm | ! Report

                This is precisely my “angle”.

                Three codes played professionally at the highest club standard in the space of 18 months – simply extraordinary – I don’t believe it will ever be done again.

                I actually didn’t know Hunt debuted at the age of 17 – for the NRL, that is quite unique, and says a fair bit about him (it’s no longer possible to debut in the AFL at such an age, but it used to happen once upon a time).

                Reminds me of someone else who did extraordinary things at the age of 18.

                His name?

                One Izzy Folau.

                People are so quick to dismiss, as if it’s all a walk in the park.

    • July 27th 2011 @ 7:24am
      voodoo people said | July 27th 2011 @ 7:24am | ! Report

      No, not Australia’s greatest anything.

      Hunt was a good fullback, but hardly a world beater – would be very hard pressed to get anywhere near a rep jersey. His status was boosted by the heir to Lockyer title. And in AFL he is mediocre at best.

      Issy is a glorified winger who played in the centres in RL, and hasn’t played a game yet at AFL level.

      So no, on both counts.

    • July 27th 2011 @ 8:18am
      ChrisC said | July 27th 2011 @ 8:18am | ! Report

      Andrew D, is that you??? You can’t really be serious, neither of these players would be in their respective sides without the pressure from AFL HQ.

    • Roar Guru

      July 27th 2011 @ 8:29am
      Redb said | July 27th 2011 @ 8:29am | ! Report

      The whole premise of this article is entirely premature. Hunt has played 10 low possession games and is developing well but he is still getting use to the pace of the game as evidenced by his often rushed disposal, whilst Folau has not even played an AFL game yet.

      Give it 3 years then reassess a lot of water go under the bridge yet.

      • July 27th 2011 @ 9:25am
        Brett McKay said | July 27th 2011 @ 9:25am | ! Report

        I think you’re on the money Red. Let’s wait ’til they’ve both played 50+ AFL games and then start crunching their numbers. Signs are promising, no doubt, but I think we’re a bit early…

    • July 27th 2011 @ 8:45am
      Ian Whitchurch said | July 27th 2011 @ 8:45am | ! Report


      Hunt’s disposals are ok, when he knows what to do – but he doesnt have enough of a tank or a game brain yet.

      Folau wears number four on his back, has similar physical tools to another number four and I think he hasnt kicked any points yet – and thats all Im going to say about him till I see him play with an AFL standard fullback on him.

      Chris C, if you youtube Israel Folau you’ll see footage of his goals in the reserves, and he’s doing everything I want out of a traditional full forward.

      • Roar Guru

        July 27th 2011 @ 8:56am
        Redb said | July 27th 2011 @ 8:56am | ! Report

        Yep agree Ian, Folau has potential but at this stage he is yet to play an AFL game so who knows. The step up from NEAFL to AFL is fairly steep. The other issue will be the calibre of midfielder GWS recruit, becuase if you cant supply the forward line you could have Tony Lockett reincarnated and he wouldn’t kick a goal.

        • July 27th 2011 @ 9:08am
          Ian Whitchurch said | July 27th 2011 @ 9:08am | ! Report


          Lockett played on some appalling St Kilda sides, and still got goals. Have some very old footage

          • Roar Guru

            July 27th 2011 @ 9:11am
            Redb said | July 27th 2011 @ 9:11am | ! Report

            Yeah in the late 80′ s early 90’s before packs of midfielders started to dominate the game. Clearances or first use is king.

          • Roar Guru

            July 27th 2011 @ 9:29am
            The Cattery said | July 27th 2011 @ 9:29am | ! Report

            Plugger was an exceptional player from a very young age.

    • Roar Guru

      July 27th 2011 @ 9:31am
      M1tch said | July 27th 2011 @ 9:31am | ! Report

      Lets revist this article in 2016 and discuss then

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