Broncos rookies reunite as rugby veterans

Beth Newman Profile
by Beth Newman

It’s been 12 years since Karmichael Hunt and Berrick Barnes found themselves on the same football field, but all that is set to change at the Brisbane Tens.

The pair began their careers at the Brisbane Broncos in the NRL together, but Barnes switched to the Reds a year later, with Hunt finding his way to rugby union.

A handful of Broncos alumni will suit up at the Tens tournament, with Lachlan Maranta also in the Queensland side, and Lote Tuqiri the Waratahs wildcard with Test star Israel Folau.

Israel Folau in his Broncos days. Photo: Getty ImagesOnly Barnes and Hunt found themselves at Red Hill at the same time, while Barnes and Folau played together in the former's final Super Rugby season, but the connection was not lost on Hunt when asked on Friday.

“I haven't seen ‘Barnesy’ since the Broncs,” he said.

“We played together at school and at the Broncos for a year or two, so I'll catch up with him and say, ‘G’day,’.

“It's going to be good to see him do his thing out on the field and Izzy [Folau] - we play against each other quite regularly and know each other really well.”

When they first made it into the NRL out of school, Hunt would never have imagined he and Barnes would reunite as 30-year-olds in a novelty rugby preseason competition.

“Definitely not,” he said.

“It’s good to see Lote as well. there's a few Broncos boys here - we'll have some tomorrow and Sunday as well.”

Hunt will be teaming up with two Reds legends in the Tens - Chris Latham and Radike Samo are the team’s wildcards - and he’s been picking the brains of Latham in training.

“We've had Chris Latham train with us throughout the week, as a fullback and we share some knowledge with him and his understanding of the game's been great.”

“Radike Samo's come into our squad as well, so it'll be good to play alongside him. We'll have some fun.”

The Reds take on the Crusaders, the Blues and the Samoan national team in their Tens pool.