Hunt hits the ground running

by Sam Phillips

Karmichael Hunt has sported a few different jerseys at Suncorp Stadium but he will cherish pulling on the Wallabies jersey in front of family and friends like no other.

Hunt has been thrust into a second playmaker role outside of Bernard Foley after a season of stunning form at the Reds.

That form has come at fullback, though, where he has built a potent combination with Quade Cooper, Samu Kerevi and Duncan Paia'aua.

So to come in at inside centre and take on a new role, all while becoming accustomed to life as a Wallaby, has been an arduous task for the 30-year-old.

"It's been pretty full on, to say the least," he told Hunt has put together two strong performances in his first two Tests. Photo: Walmsley"Positional wise it's just getting used to that second playmaker role.

"Obviously trying to steer the team around and knowing where we need to get to.

"Then there are obviously other things to get used to in terms of the Wallabies setup and how we want to play.

"It's coming along but there's a lot for me to get a hold of in the first couple of weeks."

The second ball player is a Cheika staple and it is a huge show of faith to thrust Hunt into that slot.Hunt looks to be an integral piece of the Wallabies puzzle going forward. Photo: WalmsleyHe has to facilitate the Australian attack as much as Foley and Will Genia do, which is a concern he hasn't had while running lines off Cooper and Paia'aua for the Reds.

"It (the ball playing) is definitely no where near where it needs to be or where I want to get it to," he said.

"But obviously the foundation is being laid and I just want to keep improving on it.

"I just need to keep working with Bernie (Larkham) and always make sure I know what Foley wants from me outside him as well."

A part of Hunt's game that has seamlessly transferred from Super Rugby to Test footy is his defensive work.

He has received praise for a stint late in the second term against Scotland in which he was clearly nursing a sore shoulder but managed to get up and make three crucial tackles in the space of a minute.

That comes naturally to Hunt and so does performing on the big stage.

He just hopes he is in the starting XV at Suncorp Stadium so he can do his part in reversing the Wallabies' form against Italy.

"I've had a lot of history there in a few different jerseys but never played in a Wallabies guernsey there," he said.

"It will be a moment to cherish."