Henjak backs Hunt to shine in limelight - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Henjak backs Hunt to shine in limelight

By Wayne Heming' 31/07/2009 03:35:58 PM Comments (0)

Broncos coach Ivan Henjak is supremely confident Karmichael Hunt can block out the media circus created by his jaw-dropping decision to jump from rugby league to Australia Rules.

People are still debating his left field decision after he dropped the bombshell on Wednesday.

Henjak says the 22-year-old is mentally tough enough to put the biggest sports story of the year out of his mind and take up the challenge of playing halfback inside Darren Lockyer on Saturday.

Hunt was originally named at fullback with unrelated Ben Hunt poised to play his third NRL game until Henjak's re-think.

"We just thought playing against Canberra we needed two experienced halves and he's certainly a lot more experienced than Ben (Hunt) was," said Henjak, explaining the Hunt swap.

"The way he plays his footy, he gets fairly involved. He loves taking the line on, I don't think he'll have any trouble refocusing.

"It (announcement) wasn't so much a distraction to us, it may have been to him having to handle all the media the day it broke.

"It will probably help now it's all out in the open.

"It was a big surprise to everyone but if you know K, you're not overly surprised.

"He does some things out of left field and he likes to challenge himself.

"We (players) had a chat about it when he got in on Thursday and said Karmichael had made a decision and we respected that and wished him well."

Henjak didn't agree Hunt would lift his game to make sure he gave Brisbane his best before taking up his AFL career.

"I don't expect him to lift just for that reason, said Henjak.

"We all want to get back into this competition and have a real crack at it, that's the motivation we've got, not that Karmichael is leaving.

"We've had players leave over the years, we don't want to make it just about a single person."

Unlike other rugby league identities who've warned Hunt's defection could start another cross-code war, Henjak's view was no player was irreplaceable.

Brisbane have high-flying winger Israel Folau locked away from rivals for a few more years.

But Henjak said it wouldn't matter which players were poached by other sports, new stars would always come along.

"It's been happening for years with rugby union in the past and AFL is just another one," he said.

"We've got such a good development system in our game that we'll always replace good player with other good players.

"Someone else will step up and become a star.

"I'm not concerned we're going to lose all our good players because our game has a history of being able to replace whoever leaves."

"We won't know for two or three years time if K's (Hunt's) move is successful and if other players will want to take the same risk."

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