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Hunt barred from returning to training with Reds


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    Karmichael Hunt won’t be permitted to resume training with the Queensland Reds despite dodging a conviction for drug possession.

    The 31-year-old’s future remains in the hands of Rugby Australia, who say they have “resumed” an investigation into his conduct after prosecutors dropped a cocaine charge against him in court on Monday.

    A statement from Rugby Australia said Hunt would continue his “voluntary stand-down” from all rugby duties until the matter is resolved.

    It means his playing career is still in limbo, with the national governing body a chance of tearing up his contract for bringing the game into disrepute.

    Hunt has not trained with the Reds since his arrest on December 30 in Brisbane’s Fortitude Valley.

    But he has been keeping fit at a Brisbane boxing gym alongside fellow Reds exile Quade Cooper, who is out of favour and has been told not to come to training based on performance reasons.

    Hunt pleaded guilty to possessing alprazolam – a tablet of Xanax – and to contravening a police direction after failing to attend a police station when required to give fingerprints. He was handed a $600 fine.

    The cocaine charge was formally dropped due to a lack of evidence.

    But the fact he avoided a conviction is significant and means he can not only travel with the Reds to play overseas matches, but he can also play in France or Japan – countries which deny entry to convicted drug users.

    With the Queensland Rugby Union having lost all faith in Hunt after his second major off-field indiscretion in three years, a shift abroad is firming as a likely outcome.

    However, because he falls a long way short of the 60-cap ‘Giteau law’, any departure from Australian rugby would spell the end of his brief Test career.

    Hunt showed promise in his five appearances for Australia last year and appeared bound for 2019 World Cup selection.

    His player profile has seemingly been removed from the Wallabies squad section on, but is still accessible via an internet search.

    While he is still contracted to the Reds for another two seasons, the recent recruitment of fullback Aidan Toua indicates coach Brad Thorn is prepared for life without Hunt.

    UK outlet The Rugby Paper reported interest last week from French Top 14 clubs Bordeaux and Toulouse and English sides Sale Sharks and Worcester Warriors.

    Hunt has already played in Europe, having spent a season with Biarritz Olympique in 2009-10 prior to linking up with the AFL’s Gold Coast Suns.

    © AAP 2018

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    The Crowd Says (41)

    • February 20th 2018 @ 7:13am
      Realist said | February 20th 2018 @ 7:13am | ! Report

      What an absolute disgrace.
      I hope Kokehead is booted and it sends a firm message to kids that Junkie’s will not be tolerated.
      His poor family.

      • February 21st 2018 @ 9:21am
        mania said | February 21st 2018 @ 9:21am | ! Report

        its only recreational drugs. not really a big deal,
        im against performance enhancers

        • February 21st 2018 @ 9:59am
          Rhys Bosley said | February 21st 2018 @ 9:59am | ! Report

          It’s a big deal if you are a parent who doesn’t want sporting hero’s setting a bad example to your kids.

          • February 21st 2018 @ 11:46am
            Ariki evans said | February 21st 2018 @ 11:46am | ! Report

            Dead right Rhys.Hunt came to my sons rugby club while i was away at work and my wife took my son over to get a photo with him i wasnt impressed this was after his first drug related episode..

        • February 21st 2018 @ 12:12pm
          Bakkies said | February 21st 2018 @ 12:12pm | ! Report

          Only recreational drugs? First of all they’re illegal and secondly if they show up in a drug test you will get a two year ban as per Matt Stevens, Andrew Walker and Big Dell.

    • February 20th 2018 @ 7:36am
      Onside said | February 20th 2018 @ 7:36am | ! Report

      Hunt may not be alone ,according to a story in a Fairfax newspaper associate article in New Zealand

      • February 20th 2018 @ 7:59am
        bigbaz said | February 20th 2018 @ 7:59am | ! Report

        Wow, everyone should read this

        • February 20th 2018 @ 12:32pm
          Perry Bridge said | February 20th 2018 @ 12:32pm | ! Report

          Interesting read. Pacific Islanders in sport are a resource to exploit and manipulate – it appears. Including papering over the fundamental structural issues in both the Rugby codes (in Australia).

          It is interesting to read the observations around drugs – and the irony of course is that 10 years ago there were people from Rugby who were asserting that their sport was clean (because of WADA testing) and the AFL were somehow soft on drugs (despite adding an illicit drugs policy to their WADA testing).

          The last 10 years have shown a couple of things –

          1. you can’t rely on WADA testing if you’re thinking about catching somebody out with a positive test.
          2. WADA testing isn’t concerned with all illicit drugs
          3. So long as players aren’t dealing – then you really have to treat it as a ‘health’ issue
          4. the war (re illicit drugs) was lost well before the sports codes started seriously fighting any battles
          5. and as the Aust Drug Foundation observed 10 years ago – as they supported the AFL re their position on illicit drugs – that the AFL came in for criticism re it’s position on alcohol. And in the main – players who have got into strife have had a common starting point of alcohol leading to poor decision making.

          The ARU was well and truly late to the table – for years their illicit drug policy was solely ‘education’. The ARU are playing catch up from a long way back. But again – a most ambivalent media couldn’t be bothered digging the dirt in Australia – there’s more mileage in NRL and AFL scandals (just not the Melb H-Sun today with over the top reporting of a young fellow who got done for drunk driving).

      • February 20th 2018 @ 10:59am
        Rugby is Life said | February 20th 2018 @ 10:59am | ! Report

        Great Article

        • Roar Guru

          February 20th 2018 @ 11:45am
          Ralph said | February 20th 2018 @ 11:45am | ! Report

          I dunno, he seems to think anger and slander pave the road to justice.

          • February 21st 2018 @ 12:24pm
            mania said | February 21st 2018 @ 12:24pm | ! Report

            what slander? all that he’s said is true
            the anger he has is at the injustice and justified.

      • February 21st 2018 @ 12:14pm
        Bakkies said | February 21st 2018 @ 12:14pm | ! Report

        I saw that a while ago and EFS has developed a reputation for making outlandish claims. Like Pdivvy you don’t know when he is right.

    • February 20th 2018 @ 7:37am
      Adsa said | February 20th 2018 @ 7:37am | ! Report

      Hope he is back at Ballymore soon and pulls the 15 shirt on, I have very little confidence in Touas ability to defend at the back. Xanax is a prescription drug, a friend of my wife pops them for anxiety.

      • February 20th 2018 @ 8:56am
        tyrone said | February 20th 2018 @ 8:56am | ! Report

        I am sure the friend of your wife has a prescription so it is not illegal to take.

        It is not illegal to possess a drug that you have a valid prescription for, I am guessing that Hunt went to a doctor immediately after being charged to get a prescription so he would not look like as bad.

      • Roar Rookie

        February 20th 2018 @ 12:32pm
        Shane D said | February 20th 2018 @ 12:32pm | ! Report

        Does your wife’s friend take a single pill of her prescription medication with her when she goes out?
        Xanax is normally prescribed to be taken in a regular dose, not just ‘popped’ when feeling anxious.
        Cocaine users however are known to use Xanax to bring themselves down to allow them to sleep.

    • February 20th 2018 @ 8:54am
      tyrone said | February 20th 2018 @ 8:54am | ! Report

      “A statement from Rugby Australia said Hunt would continue his “voluntary stand-down””
      If it is voluntary then surely he could just rock up at training…..unless it is a forced voluntary action like we all know it is

      • February 20th 2018 @ 9:29am
        ken gargett said | February 20th 2018 @ 9:29am | ! Report

        exactly. you really wonder why any organisation would be so inept as to come out with ‘voluntary’.

        • Roar Rookie

          February 20th 2018 @ 11:56am
          piru said | February 20th 2018 @ 11:56am | ! Report

          any other organisation, yes

          ARU though….

      • Roar Rookie

        February 20th 2018 @ 12:35pm
        Shane D said | February 20th 2018 @ 12:35pm | ! Report

        It’s called voluntary because Hunt has agreed to stand down. It avoids messy employment issues that may well result from a ‘ban’.
        Hunt knows he is on thin ice & is probably happy to agree to a ‘voluntary’ stand down to avoid pushing the issue which may result in the ARU tearing up his contract.

        • Roar Rookie

          February 20th 2018 @ 12:50pm
          piru said | February 20th 2018 @ 12:50pm | ! Report

          He’s on ice as well?

          • Roar Rookie

            February 20th 2018 @ 3:29pm
            Shane D said | February 20th 2018 @ 3:29pm | ! Report

            Don’t start rumours Piru!

          • February 20th 2018 @ 6:05pm
            Dave_S said | February 20th 2018 @ 6:05pm | ! Report

            No he’s on thin ice – aka slimming tablets. Warnie’s Mum is at it again ,..

    • Roar Pro

      February 20th 2018 @ 9:38am
      Ballymore Brumby said | February 20th 2018 @ 9:38am | ! Report

      Wait, so his ‘voluntary stand down” equals “barred from returning to training”. Wait, so how does that work exactly? I think the media are really grasping at straws..

    • February 20th 2018 @ 2:01pm
      Bob Pacey said | February 20th 2018 @ 2:01pm | ! Report

      That must have been one heck of a favour that was called in to get him this result.

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