Qld Reds in the Hunt for Karmichael - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Qld Reds in the Hunt for Karmichael

By Jim Morton 18/07/2008 05:45:34 PM Comments (0)

The Queensland Reds are set to gauge hot property Karmichael Hunt's interest in swapping codes before adding their name to his growing list of suitors.

The Reds confirmed they were keen to lure Hunt to Ballymore if the Queensland league fullback held a genuine desire in returning to rugby.

The Reds had listed the Broncos star in their planning for the 2010 Super 14 before NRL interest in his services exploded this week.

Hunt, who played rugby union through high school at Brisbane's Anglican Church Grammar School, has said he'd be "stupid" not consider all options when his Brisbane contract expires next year.

The battling Reds see the versatile 21-year-old, who could play almost any backline position, best suited at either inside or outside centre.

Hunt is good friends with Wallabies Lote Tuqiri and Berrick Barnes, who he played rugby against before they both signed with the Broncos.

QRU high performance manager Ben Whitaker said Hunt's union history, playing at the same school that produced five-eighth Quade Cooper, enhanced the attraction.

"He's someone we've listed as a player who could fill a role at the Reds," Whitaker told AAP.

"His ability to play 13 definitely suits our needs, particularly if Morgan Turinui doesn't re-sign."

But Whitaker was wary about the Reds, who would need significant assistance from the Australian Rugby Union, showing interest if Hunt had little desire to play the 15-man code.

"We've got to be proactive and we definitely are but at the same time, you want to see some genuine desire by the player to have a look as well and that definitely is more attractive to us than someone you have to chase," he said.

Broncos boss Bruno Cullen has warned off rival clubs but there is nothing stopping NRL and rugby teams from negotiating with the seven-Test fullback this year.

The Roosters and St George Illawarra have both signalled their enthusiasm for Hunt, with indications he could double the reported $200,000 per season deal he receives at Brisbane.

Hunt could command more money in rugby, as shown by the deals Ryan Cross and Timana Tahu signed in the past two years.

Like the Reds, the ARU are careful not to be used by players to help bump up their asking price.

"He's a good footballer. We all know that and he's played rugby," said new ARU high-performance manager Nucifora.

"If he showed some genuine interest and wanted to come and talk to us then at the appropriate time we'd have a chat with him to gauge his intentions."

Queensland have tabled an offer to former Wallabies vice-captain Turinui, who has been overlooked for ARU top-up money and will decide in the next fortnight whether he will take up a bigger deal overseas.

Meantime, the Reds will begin preparations for the 2009 Super 14 in August with a four-match development tour of Ireland.

Reds coach Phil Mooney will take a 26-man squad and play matches against Ulster, Connacht, Leinster and Munster A.

"It will be a chance for our coaching staff to take a closer look at how the newer players and combinations work in games, without having to do it during the cut-throat Super 14 competition," Whitaker said.

Brought to you by AAP AAP © 2022 AAP

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