Karmichael Hunt: Wikis


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Karmichael Hunt
Karmichael Hunt 2.jpg
Personal information
Full name Karmichael Hunt
Nickname 'K', 'Special K', Kamikaze
Born 17 November 1986 (1986-11-17) (age 23)
Auckland, New Zealand
Height 186 cm (6 ft 1 in)
Weight 90 kg (14 st 2 lb)
Playing information
Rugby league
Position Fullback
Years Team Pld T G FG P
2004–09 Brisbane Broncos 124 53 0 1 213
Years Team Pld T G FG P
2006–08 Australia 11 4 0 0 16
2006–09 Queensland 10 0 0 0 0
Rugby union
Position Centre, Wing
Years Team Pld T G FG P
2009– Biarritz Olympique 1 0 0 0 0
As of 17 October 2009
Source: Rugby League Project

Karmichael Hunt (born 17 November 1986 in Auckland, New Zealand) is an Australian professional multi-code football player. He is best known as a rugby league player for the Brisbane Broncos of the National Rugby League. He primarily played in the fullback position, but has also played on the wing and at five-eighth and halfback. Hunt played in the NRL for Brisbane from 2004 to 2009, and was part of the Broncos' competition-winning team in 2006. He has represented the Queensland Maroons in the State of Origin series and the Australian Kangaroos at international level.

Hunt made his NRL debut in 2004 and played every game that season, winning the Dally M Rookie of the Year award. In a controversial move, Hunt chose to play for Australia instead of his native New Zealand, citing a lifelong dream of playing for Queensland in State of Origin.[1] After a downturn in 2005, Hunt's 2006 performances resulted in his selection for Queensland and Australia. After consistent performances for the Broncos and continued selection for Queensland over 2006–2009, Hunt expressed a desire to leave the NRL competition. In July 2009, he signed a three year deal with Gold Coast Football Club in the Australian rules football code beginning in 2011. However will compete in French rugby union in 2010 with Top 14 side Biarritz Olympique.


Early life

Hunt was born on 17 November 1986 in Auckland, New Zealand, to Hans and Tera Hunt, from Samoa and the Cook Islands respectively.[2] He began playing rugby league at the age of four for the Avondale Wolves before moving to Australia in 1997 , the family moved to the suburb of Algester in Brisbane, Australia.[3][4] Upon moving to Brisbane, Hunt played junior rugby league for the Souths club in Acacia Ridge.[5] Hunt's childhood hero was Michael Jordan and, prior to his rugby league success, he dreamt of playing basketball in the United States.[6]

In 2000, Hunt made his representative debut with the Under-14 South–East team of the Queensland Rugby League (QRL), in the fullback position. In 2001, he became part of the Under-15 Australian merit side, and, upon seeing him play rugby league, NRL club Brisbane Broncos scout Cyril Connell offered him a scholarship with the club.[7][8][9] Hunt accepted the Broncos scholarship and, after strong performance at Souths Acacia Ridge and Sunnybank High School, received a scholarship to the Anglican Church Grammar School (ACGS).[10][11][12][13]

At ACGS, Hunt switched to rugby union and was a dominant figure in the school's team, which played in the Queensland Great Public Schools (GPS) competition.[14][15] As a fullback, he led his team to an undefeated season in 2003, and he was one of the best players in the GPS competition.[16] While playing rugby union at ACGS, Hunt also played for the Queensland Schoolboys rugby league team against New South Wales, in the position of lock.[11] Along with Anton LaVin, he won the Bob Templeton Trophy for Queensland's leading schoolboy player.[17]

In 2003, Hunt was selected for the Australian Schoolboys rugby league representative team to tour New Zealand,[14] playing three matches under coach Rod Patison.[18] Hunt scored a try in each game and was named best back of the series.[12][18] Australian Schoolboys' coaching staff predicted that Hunt was the most likely Australian schoolboy to make a debut in the NRL.[12]

In 2004, St. George Illawarra Dragons coach Nathan Brown spoke about Hunt and a discussion he had with recruitment officer Craig Young a year earlier, when Hunt was still under contract with the Broncos. “He’s a terrific player. Craig Young who scouts for us watched him play last year and said give him $80,000 (to lure him to Sydney). I said ‘where would we play him?’ And he (Young) said ‘wing, fullback, centre, five eighth, lock – doesn’t matter because he’ll play first grade and play for Australia for the next 12 years’.”[19]

Brisbane Broncos


Debut season

Hunt's 2001 scholarship came to fruition when he joined the Brisbane Broncos' main squad at the end of the 2003 season. He participated in the team's off-season training in early 2004, under the guidance of Broncos' coach Wayne Bennett, and was selected to participate in the Broncos' pre-season trial games in February.[4] Hunt had expected to play most of the 2004 season in the Queensland Cup, the second-tier rugby league competition in Queensland.[20] However, after Darren Lockyer's shift to the five-eighth position and Hunt playing both trial games on the wing and scoring a try in the first game against the Melbourne Storm,[21] he was selected to make his National Rugby League (NRL) debut for the Broncos in the first round of the 2004 season against the New Zealand Warriors, making him the youngest ever Bronco at seventeen.[22] Coach Bennett's decision to name Hunt as the starting fullback was somewhat surprising, due to Hunt's original selection, the week before the match, on the interchange bench. He replaced Motu Tony in the fullback position.[22][23]

Hunt in action in 2004, his debut NRL season.

Hunt described Bennett and Broncos team-mate Darren Lockyer as the greatest influences on his league career.[4] With Lockyer's move from fullback to five-eighth, Hunt had large shoes to fill in the position. Hunt proved to be a success for the Broncos; he played every game in 2004, missing just four minutes in total,[24] and was the team's top try-scorer.[25] Bennett remarked of him that "Karmichael has an attitude just like Darren Lockyer where he can make a mistake and kiss it off and just get on with the game, It's a wonderful quality to have and you'd like every player to have it. A lot of guys dwell on mistakes and it stays with them too long."[6]

Hunt drew criticism for his style of returning the football; upon receiving the ball, he would run straight at opposition players rather than attempting to evade them.[6] As a result, he received several high tackles, causing the Broncos to ask the NRL to protect Hunt by punishing opposition players more severely.[26] The referees' board supported this position, and stated that fullbacks such as Hunt needed to be protected due to greater risk of injury.[27]

The performance of the 2004 NRL rookies, including Hunt, had been much anticipated. After a few games, his peers and the media singled Hunt out as the next superstar of the game.[28][29][30] To minimise the impact of excessive media pressure on Hunt's performance, Bennett banned him from speaking to the media.[31] Hunt scored four tries in the Round 17 clash with the South Sydney Rabbitohs, equalling the team record.[32] His form earned him the Brisbane Broncos and Dally M Rookie of the Year awards.[33][34]


At the end of 2004, Hunt signed a contract with the Broncos for an additional two years, with the intention of staying at the club for the rest of his career.[35] On re-signing, Hunt stated, "I look around and see guys like Webbie and Locky who have been here for their entire careers, and it's something I would like to do. If I can, I want to be a one-club player too. Playing footy is not just about 80 minutes out on the field every week. For me it is a career and I want to be happy where I am, satisfied that my game is progressing and that I am learning all the time to be a better player."[36][37]

Bennett advised Hunt to have fun and enjoy himself like any other teenager, so that it would not affect his second year in first-grade rugby league.[38] However, Hunt's second season was not considered as successful as his first,[39] despite his only missing one game, a situation that the media labelled "Karmichael's second-year syndrome".[40] Hunt was retained in the fullback position despite his perceived lack of form, which included fewer tries and fewer kick returns than in his debut season.[41][42]

Hunt scored a try in each of the first two games of the season.[43] In Round 6, he was knocked unconscious by a high tackle from a St George Illawarra Dragons player, Shaun Timmins. The following week, still suffering from the effects of concussion, he missed his first NRL game since his debut.[44] Hunt returned a week later and scored a try in each of the next three games. However, he only scored three more tries in the remaining sixteen weeks of the season.[43] Hunt was a part of the junior Australian representative team at the end of the 2005 season, but was not considered for the game against Papua New Guinea for personal reasons.[45][46]


Prior to the 2006 National Rugby League season, Wayne Bennett, backed by former Broncos halfback Allan Langer, groomed Hunt as a key play-maker, able to steer the play from the halfback position, with the intention of taking pressure off Darren Lockyer and then-halfback, Brett Seymour.[47][48] In a trial match against the North Queensland Cowboys, Hunt played in the halfback position but he chose to return to fullback for the opening NRL game.[49][50] Hunt scored two tries against the Canberra Raiders in Round 8 of the competition, following this performance with another two tries against Manly in Round 10.[51]

Hunt sustained a foot injury in the Broncos Round 15 match and was sidelined for eight weeks.[52] While out injured, early in the morning on 30 July 2006, Hunt was at the scene of a fight outside a Brisbane night club in Brisbane's CBD. The media, notably Channel 7 and Channel 10, alleged Hunt was the instigator of the incident, claiming he squirted water on a woman. The Broncos denied he had any involvement in the incident although a woman gave his name to police. Hunt also denied involvement, insisting he was merely a bystander.[53]

When Hunt's contract ended at the end of 2006, concern mounted as to whether the Broncos would be able to retain him.[54] The Broncos could only offer Hunt about $200,000 a season, while other teams were able to offer him $300,000.[55] The South Sydney Rabbitohs reportedly offered Hunt up to $500,000 a season, but despite these offers, on 29 June, he signed with the Broncos for a further three years.[56] Brisbane Broncos chief executive Bruno Cullen announced that contract negotiations were "straightforward" and there was never any doubt that Hunt wanted to stay at the Broncos.[57]

During Hunt's injury, Bennett moved Broncos team mate Justin Hodges to fullback and Hodges was impressive in the position.[58] When Hunt returned to the Broncos side in Round 25 against the Parramatta Eels, he was forced to play on the wing due to Hodges' good form.[59] Hunt and Hodges continued to switch the fullback position for the remainder of the season. Hunt missed the first week of the finals due to a hamstring problem but was able to return a week later.[60] The Broncos reached the grand final against the Melbourne Storm, winning 15–8 with Hunt playing on the wing and Hodges at fullback.[61][62]


Bennett pulled his first selection surprise of 2007, experimenting with Hunt at halfback for the opening game of the season.[63] At the time Bennett maintained that this would be a long term switch, but due to the Broncos' poor form, Hunt returned to fullback for Round 3.[64][65] In Round 11, the Broncos had their biggest victory yet, winning 71–6 over Newcastle. In that game Hunt set up three tries and scored one himself.[66] The Brisbane newspaper The Sunday Mail described Hunt as not performing consistently throughout the 2007 season for the Broncos.[67] However, Hunt played an exceptionally good game in Round 15 against the West Tigers, scoring three tries, assisting in a try and gaining 281 metres in the Broncos' win.[68]

Hunt in 2008

Hunt's skill on the field and positive influence on other team members led to his emergence, early in 2007, as a future candidate for the Broncos captaincy.[37] Broncos chief executive Bruno Cullen stated that such a move would have his and the Broncos management's full support.[69] Current captain Lockyer also gave his support to Hunt being the next captain, saying that he has the respect of fellow players and the necessary leadership qualities.[70]

After Round 18 of the competition, during a training session on 20 July 2007, Hunt injured his hamstring and was originally scheduled to miss six weeks.[71] However, his recovery took longer than expected, and he was eventually ruled out for the rest of the season.[72][73] Despite playing only thirteen games for the Broncos in 2007, he received the Broncos award for Best Back.[74]

2008 and beyond

Over the 2008 pre-season Hunt recovered from his hamstring injury and played in his first match since the injury in the 23 February 2008 trial match against Canberra.[75] After playing another trial in the position of five eighth,[76] Hunt returned to first grade in Round 1 of the 2008 NRL competition playing fullback in the Broncos 48-12 win over Penrith.[77] In Round 2 Hunt shoulder charged Sydney Roosters five eighth Braith Anasta in the head and was subsequently placed on report. The NRL judiciary committee charged Hunt with a Grade-Three Careless High tackle and if pleading guilty would miss one week of premiership competition.[78][79] Pleading not guilty to the charge, Hunt was cleared to play by the judiciary with no penalty being given but missed one week anyway due to a knee injury.[80][81]

In July 2008, speculation began on what Hunt would do past the expiration of his contract at the end of the 2009 season. With some high-profile defections of star league players to cashed-up rugby union clubs from France, Hunt is expected to be the target of offers from overseas and within Australia. Australian rugby union club Queensland Reds have stated their intentions to attempt to lure Hunt to the rugby union code, with the reasoning being his successful young career in rugby union.[82] From within the NRL competition, Sydney based clubs Sydney Roosters and St. George Illawarra Dragons have stated their intentions to make a bid for Hunt for his services in the 2010 season, claiming they can double Hunt's three year deal from 2006, reported to be around $200,000. The Broncos however, are expected to still be a factor in his decision with the possibility of the captaincy a possible lure to remain with the Broncos.[83]

Hunt in 2009

In the final round of the 2008 NRL competition, Hunt became the youngest player in premiership's history to reach 100 first-grade games. He set up three tries and scored one himself in the man-of-the-match performance against the Newcastle Knights in the game which secured the Broncos place in the competition finals. This performance came a day after his coach Wayne Bennett stated that Hunt was the "bravest" player he had coached because of the strong runs he made when returning the ball from fullback.[84]

On 15 September 2008, a 24 year old woman lodged a formal complaint about a sexual assault that allegedly occurred two days earlier. The people alleged to be at the centre of the incident were Hunt and Brisbane Broncos team mates Darius Boyd and Sam Thaiday. The players cooperated with police and the three were cleared of the allegations in November by police. Hunt later said he was ashamed and felt he let down his family, fans and the Broncos.[85][86][87] However, in May 2009, the woman stated she had a few drinks with Hunt, went into a toilet cubicle, and "after a few kisses, things went drastically wrong" and that in a "blink of an eye" Boyd and Thaiday were also in the cubicle.[88]

Representative career

Allegiance and debut

Hunt lining up with the Australian team on 4 November as part of the 2006 Tri-Nations

In his debut season in 2004, Hunt was approached to play at international level for New Zealand in the ANZAC Test match.[89] Although he was born in New Zealand, he had played all of his rugby league in Queensland, Australia. He was therefore eligible to play for either New Zealand or Australia, and he could have also played for the Cook Islands or Samoa due to his parents' heritage. However, Hunt pledged his allegiance to Queensland,[6] and therefore Australia, but was not selected for either country that season.[90] Hunt became a possibility for the Australian squad for the 2004 Tri-Nations, but Bennett, who was the Australian coach, decided not to select him due to his inexperience.[6][91] In 2006, media speculation suggested that Hunt intended to change his allegiance and play for the New Zealand team, but Hunt put the speculation to rest by confirming that he would play for Australia.[92]

Though Hunt was considered for the 2004 State of Origin series amongst other fullbacks, he was ignored for the entire series in favour of Penrith Panthers fullback Rhys Wesser.[93][94] Hunt's good form in 2006 paid off when he was selected to play for the Australian team against New Zealand on 5 May as a replacement for the injured Anthony Minichiello. This decision proved controversial, due to his being preferred over the in-form Matt Bowen.[92][95][96] That game was Hunt's representative and international debut, and though he performed well, he only played for 50 minutes, making one error and 83 metres in kick returns.[97] However, he was unable to complete the game due to concussion sustained by a blow from Frank Pritchard. He was taken unconscious from the field and played no further part in the match.[98]

After his Test debut, Hunt was expected to be the Queensland fullback in the first match of the three game State of Origin series. However, Queensland selectors decided to stay with incumbent Origin fullback Matt Bowen.[99] The selectors reconsidered after Queensland lost the first game, selecting Hunt for the second match. In his State of Origin debut, Hunt ran with the ball seventeen times, making 196 metres.[100][101] He missed the third Origin game because of a foot injury, sustained in the Broncos' Round 15 match, and was replaced by Clinton Schifcofske.[52][102]

2006 Tri-Nations to 2008

Hunt was one of eight Broncos players selected for the Australian team for the end of year Tri-Nations series.[103] With the absence of injured rival Anthony Minichiello, Hunt retained his fullback position for the first Tri-Nations match,[104][105] scoring two tries in a man of the match performance.[106] He played in the remainder of the Tri-Nations series,[107] which Australia won, Hunt scoring a total of three tries. The Tri-Nations win ended a good year for Hunt, who made his debut for Australia and Queensland before being a part of the premiership-winning Broncos team.

Hunt retained his fullback position for Australia in the 2007 ANZAC Test.[108] Hunt ran the ball 18 times, the most of any player, and scored one try in a man-of-the-match performance as Australia won 30–6.[109][110] Hunt was named fullback for all three games of the 2007 State of Origin series, despite the club form of rival fullbacks Billy Slater and Matt Bowen.[67][111][112] In the second game, Hunt played a full match despite aggravating his foot injury as Queensland won the match and the series.[113] He also played in the third Origin game despite suffering a calf injury during training.[114] Hunt was not considered for selection in the end of year Test for Australia against New Zealand due to a hamstring injury sustained earlier in the season.[73]

A minor knee injury which only left Hunt out for two weeks was enough to deny him the opportunity to regain the fullback position for Australia in the Centenary Test against New Zealand in May, 2008.[115] Hunt's place in the Queensland team for the 2008 State of Origin series was assured by Queensland coach Mal Meninga but there was speculation that Hunt could play five-eighth in place of injured team-mate Darren Lockyer. While not the best five-eighth possibility for the Queensland representative team, his selection there would make way for the Australian fullback Billy Slater.[116] Hunt, having never played a senior rugby league game at five-eighth, was controversially selected at the position for Queensland instead of the in-form Scott Prince.[117]

In a losing Queensland team, Hunt played neither well nor badly, being outstanding in defence but subdued in attack.[118] As a result, Hunt's position at five-eighth was in question for the second game, but coach Mal Meninga stated that Hunt would remain in the team.[119] Hunt was named on the interchange bench for the second game, making way for Queensland custodian and captain Lockyer in the five-eighth role.[118][120] However, Meninga made a late change before the game, starting Hunt at fullback and moving Slater to the interchange bench.[121] Hunt played in the match, which Queensland won 30-0, for only 51 minutes, being put on the interchange bench for 29 minutes in the middle part of the game. He retained his starting position for game three, which Queensland won to take the series.

2008 Rugby League World Cup and beyond

In August 2008, Hunt was named in the preliminary 46-man squad for Australia in the 2008 Rugby League World Cup.[122] However he did not make the final 24-man squad because of 2008 grand final fullbacks Billy Slater and Brett Stewart who were selected ahead of Hunt.[123] However Hunt was later called into the 24-man squad after Stewart was ruled out with injury.[124] Hunt wasn't picked for the first match, with Slater picked ahead of him, however in the match, interchange player Kurt Gidley sustained an injury which subsequently led to Hunt being picked on the interchange bench for the second match.[125] In the third regulation match, with a semi-final birth assured, coach Ricky Stuart choose to rest many of his regular players, including Slater, for the match.[126] Hunt would play fullback for this match, and was moved back to the interchange bench for the semi-final and the final of the World Cup which Australia lost.

In April 2009, he was named in the preliminary 25 man squad to represent Queensland in the opening State of Origin match for 2009[127] and was subsequently picked on the interchange bench for the opening State of Origin match on 3 June.[128] Hunt came on in the 25th minute of the game to replace the injured Justin Hodges and played in his centre position for the remainder of the match which Queensland won.[129] The consequences of this game would be felt as part of the 2009 swine flu pandemic in Australia. Hunt's Queensland teammate Ben Hannant tested positive to the Swine influenza and the Brisbane Broncos subsequently put all of their Origin players in quarantine. On 11 June 2009, tests confirmed Hunt tested positive to the influenza, and despite this, played in the 12 June 2009 game against the Bulldogs, despite health advice stating people with the influenza should remain isolated.[130][131] Hunt's final game for the Broncos was the loss to Melbourne in the 2009 Grand Final qualifier.

French rugby union stint

On 29 July 2009, Hunt signed a deal to switch codes and play Australian Rules football for the newly formed Gold Coast Football Club, which will join the AFL in the 2011 season.[132] The deal, reputed to be worth over $3 million is subsidised by the AFL and includes a substantial component of AFL development and promotional responsibility.[133] At the commencement of his AFL contract in 2010, he will become one of just three AFL players to earn over a million a year, the others being Jonathan Brown and Chris Judd.[134] As of 2009, no player has appeared in the senior grade of both the NRL and the AFL (or their historical equivalents).

On 17 October 2009, it was revealed he agreed to play for the French professional rugby union team Biarritz Olympique based in Biarritz, Aquitaine.[135] Hunt will play in the Top 14 French club competition and the European Heineken Cup. The six month deal was arranged by his manager David Riolo after the previous deal fell through and he will return to Australia in May 2010 to begin his contract with the Gold Coast Football Club.[136]

Hunt made his debut for Biarritz Olympique off the bench against Racing Metro on 5 November 2009.[137]

Career statistics


Preceded by
Matt Utai (Bulldogs)
Dally M Rookie of the Year
Succeeded by
Tim Smith (Parramatta Eels)
Preceded by
Neville Costigan
Brisbane Broncos Rookie of the Year
Succeeded by
Leon Bott
Preceded by
Darren Lockyer
Brisbane Broncos Back of the Year
Succeeded by
Justin Hodges
Preceded by
Sam Thaiday
Brisbane Broncos Player's Player
Succeeded by
Preceded by
Michael De Vere
Brisbane Broncos top try-scorer
2004 (15 Tries)[25]
Succeeded by
Shaun Berrigan


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  • Pramberg, Bernie and Malone, Paul and Colman, Mike and Dick, Barry (2007). Broncos: 20 Fabulous Years. Caringbah, New South Wales: Playright Publishing Pty Ltd. p. 210. ISBN 0-9775226-4-4. 
  • Whitaker, Alan; Hudson, Glen (2005). The Encyclopedia of Rugby League Players: Every Brisbane Player Ever. Melbourne: Bas Publishing. p. 26. ISBN 1-920910-48-4. 

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