Hunt is on for Karmichael's regular spot

Beth Newman Profile
by Beth Newman

Queensland Reds coach Richard Graham says Karmichael Hunt is best suited to fullback but it remains to be seen whether he can play out the 2016 season at 15.

But with Japanese fullback  Ayumu Goromaru arriving at Ballymore in the coming weeks, Graham could find himself with a dilemma.

Speaking ahead of their opening trial, Graham was adamant that Hunt would have first pick at fullback at least in the short-term, with the side yet to assess  Goromaru on his arrival.

Hunt spent much of the back end of 2015 playing at inside centre, with a view to building a partnership with bullocking centre Samu Kerevi, but played at fullback in Brisbane City’s championship NRC team.

Graham said he was confident that Hunt should start at fullback, at least this weekend, though was reluctant to speak much beyond that.

“I’m gung ho in that Karmichael has been here for the past 12 weeks,” Graham said.

“(Hunt will play) 15 at this point in time because he’s here and he’s trained with us the whole preseason.”

Whether he is able to play in that position longer into the season, Graham said he believed Hunt’s best position was at fullback.

“That position at fullback suits him,” he said.

“He’s a really good communicator talks forward and the boys get a lot of confidence of having them behind him.”

As for what alternative he might have when Goromaru does arrive, Graham said he had an open mind.

“At this point I’m not close minded to anything,” he said.

“He’s (Hunt) trained the whole preseason at 15 and my intention is to play him ahis weekend at 15 and to keep looking as we go forward.”

The Reds will field a 30-man squad in their trial this weekend, giving a mic of experience and youth a chance to get some Super Rugby into them.

Fledgling halves combination Nick Frisby and Jake McIntyre will begin to build their playmaking relationship on the field, a prospect to which Graham is looking forward.

“The good thing about Nick and Jake us they've played the last two NRC seasons together so there’s some familiarity,” he said.

“Certainly with the nine and 10 it’s not their responsibility to win the game for you, their job’s really to lead the team around.

“I’ve been impressed with the way they’ve gone about their business through preseason, they’re learning and they’ll continue to learn at this level.

“I like their temperament both of them have a good understanding of the game and both are composed.”

Rob Simmons will captain the side straight off, not missing a beat since returning to training post-Rugby World Cup.