Hunt excited by the Wallaby journey ahead

Beth Newman Profile
by Beth Newman

Karmichael Hunt’s three Test tally has come in a flurry, and now there is just one thing the Wallabies centre craves for - improvement.

He still feels like an unfinished product, as the wider Wallabies also are, but three Tests as one of Australia’s most influential players is a record on which he’s keen to build, if only he is given the time.

“(I was) fairly uncomfortable early on and still a little bit uncomfortable in certain areas of my game when it comes to 12,” - Karmichael Hunt.

“But like anything you need more time there.

“I need to watch more vision, I need to talk with the coaches and work with the players and just form combinations.

“There's no substitute for time.

“I didn't have the luxury of that this Test series but I'm just glad I could go out there and put my best foot forward.”

Hunt’s fearlessness has made him a weapon for the Wallabies  in the midfield channel, his defence particularly potent, though some well-places passes have also stood out.

“He's obviously got a lot of experience at that level, so it gives him the mentality for it,” Cheika said.

“He's up for it, he's got good chat in the game and he's a player who leads the way because he'll step up, he'll take it on.

“He's not scared to get up there and take it on.

“He's got no fear of failure whatsoever that lad." - Michael Cheika

“He's been a really good find for us, it's going to make it interesting going forward with selections out there."

Cheika is a big fan of Hunt’s body-on-the-line style, an attitude that sets the tone for his teammates.

“He's got regard (for his safety), but he must park it somewhere because he does put himself out there,” he said.

“You've got to love that about him.

“It's a great message to other players on the field, this is the way to go.

“I think that type of leading from the front, stay at that, add another couple of players to that and another couple of players to that and then you're in the contest.”

Hunt’s position in the pecking order at 12 will be put under the microscope with the return of Kurtley Beale, ostensibly still the number one choice outside Bernard Foley.

The 30-year-old said time is the only thing that will help him improve in the position, and while he hoped that might mean in Super Rugby as well, that choice is out of his hands.

“If that's where I'm going to be in the Wallabies then I'd like to (play there for Queensland) but I'll go back to the Reds and I'll do what Stilesy wants me to do, as always,” he said.

“If he feels the team needs me at 15 that's where I'll play.”

Hunt has grown each game, but his adjustment to a new position is still in the early stages.

“As a 15, you're working in space and waiting for the inside guys to throw you the ball,” he said.

“As a 12 you're actually having to create those plays so there's a lot more thinking involved in it.

“You'd play anywhere for your country.”