It’s hard not to think of Karmichael Hunt without thinking of the $1mil per season contract that was required to gain his services. However, Hunt is doing everything possible to shed away from that tag.
Despite it taking a truckload of money to make it worthwhile for the 26-year-old to make the transition from NRL to AFL, his current contract has been halved to around the $500,000 mark, and the amount of money in his pocket isn’t the only thing that has decreased.
Since his last rugby stint with French rugby team Biarritz in the 2009/10 season, Hunt has dropped 13kg, making the drastic transition from 100kg to 87kg. Despite losing a large amount of muscle, Hunt is still able to lift 145kg, more than he was able to during his time with the NRL’s Brisbane Broncos.
Karmichael Hunt has well and truly made the transition from NRL convert to AFL player. He could have very easily played out his contract and returned to the NRL as most of his critics had suggested, however, Hunt has gone above and beyond to get his body in prime AFL condition and has the goal of becoming one of the competition’s most valuable players.
His physical condition isn’t the only thing that has improved. Hunt, who played predominantly as a half-back flanker in Gold Coast’s inaugural AFL season of 2011, averaged only 8.2 disposals in his 16 games, spending a great deal of time on the bench due to being unable to run out full games. His output was almost doubled in 2012, averaging 14.7 disposals in 18 games and playing a role in key plays throughout games.
The obvious highlight in Hunt’s career is his match-winning goal after the siren during Gold Coast’s Round 16 clash with Richmond earlier in 2012, showing composure when faced with arguably the most difficult situation in Australian Rules.
The most important change in Karmichael’s game is his confidence. Rather than hanging out on the flanks, Hunt can be spotted giving a hand to Gold Coast captain Gary Ablett in the centre of the field and around stoppages.
Now into his third pre-season, Hunt is sure to only increase his on-field output as well as continue to be a role model to the young players at the club, as he has already done in the past.
The recent decision to go back to Rugby League by ex-Giants player Israel Folau has cast a shadow over the league conversion project. Folau’s choice to throw in the towel is exactly what was feared, but Karmichael Hunt is continuing to prove that if you are dedicated to the transition, which Folau was obviously not, the transition is able to be made.
Karmichael Hunt has well and truly proved that he deserves his spot in the AFL. Having stated multiple times that he will persist in the AFL, his development is sure to continue to impress over the years.