Karmichael Hunt set for rugby return this weekend

By Vince Rugari, Vince Rugari is a Roar Guru

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    Karmichael Hunt will make his return to rugby on the Gold Coast on Saturday when he lines up in a club match alongside fellow exile Quade Cooper.

    Nine months after his last outing and six months after the arrest that led to his banishment from the Queensland Reds, Hunt has been registered to play for Queensland Premier Rugby outfit Souths.

    It is the same club Cooper has played at all year after being told by Reds coach Brad Thorn he wasn’t in his Super Rugby plans.

    Hunt, who hasn’t pulled on the boots since last year’s Wallabies spring tour, is expected to be named on the bench for Souths’ clash against Bond University on Saturday.

    “Looking forward to lacing up the boots again for @SouthsRugby!” Hunt tweeted on Friday.

    He has close friend and Souths captain Cooper to thank for teeing up the opportunity, having been turned away by Norths, the club he was previously aligned to.

    In a letter to members published by the Nine Network, Souths president Tony Shepley said the club obliged after being approached by Cooper about offering “assistance” to Hunt.

    “Karmichael has essentially been in isolation and unable to play rugby for some time now,” Shepley said in the letter.

    “That is potentially not a good thing for someone who has been involved in team sport for as long as he has.

    “It was put to us that for his own well-being he be given an opportunity to redeem himself on and off the field. He has to be involved in a club and playing rugby somewhere to do that.

    “I think as a club we are about providing those kinds of opportunities to whoever has need for them and not about kicking someone when they are down.”

    Shepley also said he hoped “compassion” for Hunt’s plight outweighed any concerns by club members about having the 31-year-old at the club.

    Hunt was arrested late last year but had a charge of illicit drug possession against him dropped in February.

    However, he was fined $600 for possession Xanax without a prescription and for contravening a police order.

    Rugby Australia later issued him with a fine and a four-match suspension, which was applied retrospectively.

    Hunt has been technically available to play for the Reds but Thorn has made it clear he has no interest in using him.

    Both Hunt and Cooper are contracted until the end of 2019.

    © AAP 2018
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    The Crowd Says (16)

    • July 6th 2018 @ 6:12pm
      Yenda Ad Enthusiast said | July 6th 2018 @ 6:12pm | ! Report

      Does Brad Thorn see that the financial and media ramifications of keeping those two out of the picture , let alone not letting them train when both have shown a willingness to come back into the fold , outweigh the benefits of a fledgling “culture” building scenario? Look IMHO Quade and Karmichael probably won’t play SR for the Reds again and that’s something I can live with. But keeping them off the training paddock and out the NRC is not only hypocritically detrimental to the QRU’s pockets, these players are meant to help attract interest and grow the game after all, but also show an level of pettiness that a head coach should be quelling not igniting. For better or for worse Quade and Karmichael are headlining talents, but Aus/Qld Rugby does not have the luxury nor the time to throw away cash and talent to prove a point well proven already. Especially in the case of Quade, who regardless of his faults in the pasts, probably was the most hard done by here. NSW and QLD(NZ) are way too politically motivated with sport choices, hopefully reason prevails but Brad Thorn’s 10 year contract says otherwise. Quade has done his penance, BT stop being a menace.

      • July 7th 2018 @ 10:25am
        Rhys Bosley said | July 7th 2018 @ 10:25am | ! Report

        It was Norths who have told Hunt that they don’t want him playing club rugby and I am pretty sure that the administrators at the QRU might have had a fair bit of influence over the decision not to train Hunt with the Reds. Try not to make this another mindless Thorn bashing exercise, hey.

        Moreover people will have their opinions either way on Thorn’s decision about Cooper and it is just that, a matter of opinion to which they are entitled, but Hunt’s exclusion is a different story. There are plenty of supporters who don’t want to support a team that includes somebody who has been caught misusing drugs, even prescription drugs in the last case, on multiple occasions. It would send an extremely poor message to all the kids who support rugby that if you are good enough a player, you don’t have to follow the law like everybody else does, and can continue to play on a high six figure salary. Even if you look at the situation from a purely from a financial perspective, the Reds would be likely to lose more support than they would gain from allowing Hunt back into the fold.

        Souths have clearly made a decision to let Hunt play and that is up to them, but the “player welfare” argument doesn’t sit well with me. The talents of footballers like Hunt have provided them the opportunity to live a blessed lifestyle and good on them if they make the most of it, but if they stuff it up by being stupid I also think that is their own problem. The vast majority of other people manage to live a decent life doing normal, mundane jobs for which they get no recognition, so as far as I am concerned Karmichael Hunt’s life wouldn’t end if he had to do the same. Frankly it might do him some good, because he clearly gets dizzy at the heights he has climbed and if all his pay packet and social circles enable is a serious drug addiction, he could end up dead. Doing something like digging trenches for a living might give him a bit of perspective.

        • July 7th 2018 @ 7:38pm
          riddler said | July 7th 2018 @ 7:38pm | ! Report

          well put rhys..

          i am a huge fan of karmichael and he could have been great at 12 or 15 for qld this year.. and also for oz on the bench..

          but he unfortunately did something again.. the operative word being ‘again’..

          he got caught a 2nd time.. let’s be realistic, only ever doing it twice and getting caught both times makes him the unluckiest dabbler in the world..

          same with slipper..

          time to move on, as sad as both cases are..

          • July 7th 2018 @ 10:04pm
            Rhys Bosley said | July 7th 2018 @ 10:04pm | ! Report

            Yup.

        • July 8th 2018 @ 8:53am
          Snow Bjelke-Petersen said | July 8th 2018 @ 8:53am | ! Report

          This is club rugby you sanctimonious troglodyte. Half the players and supporters at every club ground in the country have probably tried or use recreational drugs. Take your politics offline!

          • July 8th 2018 @ 11:26am
            riddler said | July 8th 2018 @ 11:26am | ! Report

            and?

            dan crowley has said what about his beloved souths since the hunt inclusion?

            crowley who couldn’t have his photo in the match day program for qld for a good few years b/c he was an undercover vice cop..

            hunt has made his bed many times.. the punters watching the game are not in the public realm and don’t have the results of their drug control made public..

            why the b o llocks comparison.. he had just signed a two year extension for a million.. his previous game was at murrayfield.. his next one chipsy.. really??!!??

            this is all common knowledge.. but the guy did it repeatedly..

            what % of the rugby loving public get to have a chance at a qld or aus jersey? 0.005% max..

            you play with a bit of god’s dandruff at your own peril at that level..

            as for the rest of the people at the chipsy who you say have done the stuff .. if they want to have a sniff go right ahead, fill your boots..

            but they ain’t the public role models for the next qld or oz star..

            is it really that hard to comprehend?

            • July 8th 2018 @ 5:41pm
              Snow Bjelke-Petersen said | July 8th 2018 @ 5:41pm | ! Report

              Riddler, your rambling post is a touch hypocritical given you were clearly under the influence of a psychotropic substance when you typed it.

          • July 8th 2018 @ 12:11pm
            Rhys Bosley said | July 8th 2018 @ 12:11pm | ! Report

            Maintaining standards regarding recreational drug use has nothing to do with politics, it is about upholding respect for the law. If you don’t like the law, you have an MP who you can lobby to get it changed, but until then if you get caught you are in the muck.

            It is also about protecting kids from being tempted into something that can ruin their lives and kill them. Including a big name who has been publicly caught using drugs twice, is about the worst way of doing that and I suspect that there are a lot of parents who take their kids to play at Souths, who are feeling let down right now.

            • July 8th 2018 @ 5:49pm
              Snow Bjelke-Petersen said | July 8th 2018 @ 5:49pm | ! Report

              It’s a home game next Saturday so could make your way to Chips Wood and let the members speak for themselves.

    • July 6th 2018 @ 7:11pm
      ClassAct said | July 6th 2018 @ 7:11pm | ! Report

      Kokaine Karmichael deserves another opportunity to redeem himself.
      After rolling over on his Gold Coast Suns teammates, he has acted like a priggish twat since joining the Reds and been busted by the cops stuffing gear in his nose in a fortitude valley car park.
      Hopefully the funky junky gets his contract renewed

    • July 6th 2018 @ 7:38pm
      ClassAct said | July 6th 2018 @ 7:38pm | ! Report

      Kokaine Karmichael deserves another opportunity to redeem himself.
      After rolling over on his Gold Coast Suns teammates and destroying the young bloke’s life he has acted like a priggish twat since joining the Reds and been busted multiple times on the bag

      • July 9th 2018 @ 10:33am
        Reality Check said | July 9th 2018 @ 10:33am | ! Report

        ClassAct

        You need to type it a third time ?.Off your meds again it seems ?

    • Roar Rookie

      July 6th 2018 @ 8:34pm
      Jez North said | July 6th 2018 @ 8:34pm | ! Report

      Kokaine Karmichael deserves another opportunity to redeem himself.
      After rolling over on his Gold Coast Suns teammates to save his own skin, he has acted like a priggish twat since joining the Reds and been busted by the cops shovelling gear into his nose in a public car park.
      The ‘funky junky’ will probably have his contract renewed.

      • Roar Rookie

        July 7th 2018 @ 8:16am
        Sage said | July 7th 2018 @ 8:16am | ! Report

        Ha! You’re a class act Jez North

      • July 9th 2018 @ 10:36am
        Reality Check said | July 9th 2018 @ 10:36am | ! Report

        Third time lucky Class act /Jez North ? .The words finally came together for you in your thick skull …

    • July 6th 2018 @ 8:49pm
      Mark said | July 6th 2018 @ 8:49pm | ! Report

      The fallen players are going down south.

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