Hunt closing in on new contract

Beth Newman Profile
by Beth Newman

Karmichael Hunt says he’s close to finalising a new deal with Queensland and the ARU, after his most consistent year yet.

The 30-year-old had his best season yet with the Reds, though was hindered by a syndesmosis injury, and starred in his three Tests for the Wallabies this year

Hunt was reportedly signed on a $1.5 million-a-year contract when he crossed to rugby from AFL, and though this deal would likely be well below that, Hunt’s Wallabies involvement would not have hurt his value.

This second deal is likely to have an ARU top-up element, though exactly what proportion of the would be national money is unclear.

Hunt hasn’t played for the Wallabies since June, after suffering an ankle syndesmosis injury, but said he was keen to put pen to paper soon.

“I do want to stay in Queensland and Australia and be a part of the script going forward, so I'd love to see the feeling's mutual,” he said.

“I don't think we're too far off getting a deal done, so it'd be nice to put it away sooner rather than later."

Hunt said stringing some consistent games together had helped the process, after a tumultuous 2015 and an injury-ravaged 2016..

“I guess it's helped, after the first couple of years I had,” he said.

“Although I have had a setback with my ankle this year, for the most part of this year it's been quite a consistent year for me, so looking to hopefully build on it and get some more games in the gold jersey and play some better football.”

Hunt was overlooked for the third Bledisloe after playing just two games of NRC in his injury comeback, but is likely to play a key role in the Spring Tour, in the frame to replace Israel Folau at fullback.

A regular in the 15 position at the Reds, Hunt said he’d be open to a shift, having played 12 for the Wallabies, but he hadn’t had an inkling from Cheika on where he might be put.

“I mean obviously there's a vacancy there, because he's not going to be coming on tour, but who fills that role, we'll have to wait and see,” he said.

“Obviously I play it up in Queensland but Cheik is Cheik when it comes to his selections for the team so we'll just have to wait and see what he wants to do there.”

There is yet a possibility Hunt could run out at fullback against the Barbarians on Saturday afternoon, with Bill Meakes, Samu Kerevi and Duncan Paia’aua all vying for inside back spots for the clash.

The Queensland Reds back has been switching between fullback and an inside back role, but said he wasn’t fussed where he played

“I've been training a bit at 15, doing a bit of playmaking as well, but we won't know our makeup until Thursday,” he said.

“It's just good to be back playing football and being healthy and being amongst the guys, so there's a lot of new guys here I haven't played with, so it's just understanding each other's game.

“Obviously the structure within the team is pretty similar to June, so I didn't really have to get to know too much more coming in but just more so getting the footy in the hands and playing footy with these guys. I'm looking forward to it.”

The Wallabies take on the Barbarians on Saturday October 28, kicking off at 3pm AEDT, LIVE on FOX SPORTS and via Network Ten.