Hunt future, position up in the air

Super Rugby
by Sam Phillips

Karmichael Hunt isn't sure whether inside centre, outside centre or fullback is his best position but should Nick Stiles call for change, he will happily fall into line.

Hunt is back in Super Rugby mode after a glittering start to his Test career, where he looked more comfortable at inside centre with every passing minute.

RUGBY.com.au understands the 30-year-old only learned of Michael Cheika's plan to play him at inside centre on the Thursday before the first Test and that is remarkable, given how well he adapted to the position through the June Tests.

Some pundits have called for a permanent shift to the front line but now that he's back at Ballymore, Hunt feels most comfortable calling the shots at fullback.

"The experience, playing 12 and understanding a bit more about ball playing structure has helped me out a little bit and it's good to be back around the guys," Hunt said.

"I've been training at 15 so we will continue to go that way until further notice."The Reds will don a brilliant Indigenous jersey on Friday night. Photo: QRU Media/Brendan HertelA forced shift to the centres could be on the cards, though, with Samu Kerevi unlikely to be fit for Friday's clash with the Brumbies and Campbell Magnay still underdone after an injury riddled season.

Hunt could be the answer at outside centre, with young gun Hamish Stewart a more than capable replacement at fullback.

Izaia Perese could be a possible starter at outside centre as well, as the 20-year-old was Australia's best player at the World Rugby U20s Championship.

"At 13 we have a few boys that are a bit banged up so it is going to be dependent on those guys, as to what position I play on Friday night," Hunt said.

"I wouldn't have to get to know too much or too many different things for the moves because I understand it quite a bit.

"For me to get three Tests there (in the centres) and to do well, it has obviously given me some confidence."Hunt slotted into the second playmaker role with relative ease. Photo: RUGBY.com.au/Stuart WalmsleyHunt is off contract in 2018 and while he says he hasn't spoken in depth to his manager, it's understood contract talks are underway.

The Reds are keen to lock up the cross-code star but it is likely that Hunt's future lies with ARU top up money.

That war chest is thinning, though, as the governing body has spent big bucks for 2018 and beyond by bringing Kurtley Beale and Will Genia home, shoring up David Pocock's future and ensuring Israel Folau remains a Wallaby.

"The ball might be rolling behind the scenes but that discussion hasn't happened between myself and my manager yet," Hunt said.Will Hunt remain a Wallaby in 2018? Photo: RUGBY.com.au/Stuart Walmsley"That's why you have a manager, so you don't have to worry about that stuff.

"For me it's just about playing football - managers get paid to do that job so I won't worry about that."

That star first attitude to top up deals leaves Hunt's future in the hands of Cheika, who will have to figure out whether Hunt forms a big part of his 2019 World Cup plans before making the call on how much top up money is offered.

Hunt's form should make that query a no brainer but with Beale's return come Bledisloe one, Hunt may find himself a utility back, albeit a highly qualified one.

"We will obviously come together at some stage before The Rugby Championship, train and I will probably get a better gauge for it then," he said.

The Reds take on the Brumbies at Suncorp Stadium on Friday night, kicking off at 7:45pm AEST, broadcast LIVE on FOX SPORTS and on radio at RUGBY.com.au.

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