Slipper, Hunt guide each other through rehab

by Sam Phillips

The road to a full injury recovery can be a dark and lonely one so for Karmichael Hunt and James Slipper, providing support for one another was imperative in maintaining a positive mindset.

Hunt made his return to rugby in 40 solid minutes with Brisbane City on Saturday and he will play another 60 minutes on Sunday, when City face the Rising on Wests Bulldogs' home patch, Sci-Fleet Stadium.

Slipper will play 20 minutes for Queensland Country in his first start since rupturing his achilles in March and that brought a smile to Hunt's face.

"I’m really happy for him," Hunt said.

"It has been a while since he’s played a game of footy so he’s really keen and he’s just happy to be back playing to be honest.

"20 minutes is better than nothing, he will progress over time and the way QLD Country are going, they’ll be playing finals if not in the GF.Hunt made his return from a syndesmosis injury on Saturday. Photo: Karen Watson"I much prefer to be doing rehab with somebody other than Crapper (Reds physio Cameron Lillicrap) because you get a bit bored looking into his eyes."

Hunt will join the Wallabies squad on the Gold Coast on Sunday night having played just 100 minutes leading into a Bledisloe Cup week.

That, according to Hunt, is far from the ideal preparation for world rugby's toughest task.

"I’m definitely confident in where I’m at right now but can I say that’s the best preparation heading into a Test next week?

"I would have to say no.

"I have only played 40 minutes last week and then 60 minutes on the weekend coming but it’s as best as I can be right now.

"In terms of playing a role for the team next week - whatever that may be if it’s going to be a role - that’s not my decision.Hunt will go straight into camp with the Wallabies after City's clash on Sunday. Photo: Walmsley"I’ll just get into camp and do what I normally do, which is train hard."

Hunt has kept a close eye on the Wallabies from afar and said the team that picked up a draw in South Africa and a win in Argentina was "chalk and cheese" in comparison to the side that was ambushed in the first half of the opening Bledisloe.

"If you go off the last performance that we had against them, they snatched it from us in the last 30 seconds," Hunt said.

"We are thereabouts and the last performance we put together in Dunedin showed it’s not easy.

"With the results, we’ve had a couple of draws and a win against Argentina but the group that you saw in game one in Sydney - it’s chalk and cheese.

"I haven’t been amongst the group but I can definitely see from an outsider point of view that there is definitely a belief with the style of play in the players that are playing at the moment."

Hunt may not feature in the 23 for that clash and that would almost guarantee some game time against the Barbarians on October 28.

That would setup a clash with great mate Quade Cooper and Hunt expects plenty of chatter both before and during the match, should they square off.

"It’ll be a bit of fun - he’s really, really keen to get involved and obviously play some really good football," Hunt said.

"He’s spoken about playing a really attacking style of footy so hopefully they compliment it with some players that hopefully go along those lines.

"If we do come up against each other it’ll be a lot of fun and (a lot of) chat."