Bacon and eggs. Allan Langer and Kevin Walters. Brisbane Broncos and finals footy. For years that was a combination that would never falter.
Karmichael Hunt will draw on skills learnt in rugby union when he makes his NRL return for Brisbane on Saturday after nearly 12 years away.
The former Broncos, Queensland and Australian fullback has been selected to partner Albert Kelly in the halves against Canberra in the most unlikely of scenarios as coach Kevin Walters continues to search for solutions following a 3-10 start to the season.
Dual international Hunt, 34, debuted for Brisbane as a 17-year-old before enjoying careers in the AFL with Gold Coast and then in Super Rugby with the Queensland Reds and NSW Waratahs.
Wallabies No.10 James O’Connor told AAP earlier this year that Hunt’s calm temperament and improved playmaking skills – learnt as a ball-playing inside centre in rugby – meant he could be just what the Broncos were looking for.
No sooner was Hunt, who returned to league with Souths Logan in the Queensland Cup this season, back training at Red Hill before Walters sealed his NRL return on Tuesday.
“The body feels great and skills are maybe a bit better than when I was here last,” Hunt said in May.
“Sure (I can play in the halves); the last however many years I’ve been playing in the No.12 and have no issues directing the team around.
“My passing, kicking game, I’ve got no worries with.”
Walters has swung the axe after the Broncos’ 52-24 disintegration against St George Illawarra, with Tyson Gamble making way for Hunt and fullback Jamayne Isaako also dropped.
Centre Herbie Farnworth will wear the No.1 with Dale Copley at centre, while David Mead has been dropped and last-round debutant Selwyn Cobbo retained on the wing.
Origin representatives Payne Haas and Xavier Coates have been named to return to the starting side, pending fitness after Wednesday’s game in Townsville.