Karmichael Hunt to play two VFL matches - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Karmichael Hunt to play two VFL matches

By Jim Morton 09/11/2009 08:12:17 PM Comments (0)

Gold Coast will take a huge gamble on giving code-crossing recruit Karmichael Hunt just two VFL games in preparation for his AFL debut in 2011.

Coach Guy McKenna has revealed the expansion club is so worried about burn out from back-to-back rugby league and union seasons that Hunt would hardly be seen in Coast colours in 2010.

The former Broncos league star is due to link with Gold Coast in late May after starting a short-term stint with French rugby club Biarritz this month.

In a bold and risky move, McKenna said he would almost immediately trial Hunt in a variety of positions in two VFL games before wrapping him in cotton wool for the club's 2011 AFL entry.

"My biggest concern ultimately will be the wear and tear on his body," he said on Monday.

"He's just come out of a Broncos season and now he's straight into a rugby union season so when we get him he'll be fairly cooked.

"We will have a look at him to see if he can play a couple of games and we'll throw him straight into the deep end and see what we have to work with, and then he'll probably have the rest off the season off.

"I won't be playing him for 10 or 15 games next season because when he lobs in May it would be derelict of our duties if he were to have two years (non-stop) of three sports - it would absolutely murder him.

"I know rugby union don't have a long season but still just mentally he's up all the time so when he comes to us he'll be feeling flat."

As Hunt, 23 next week, last played Australian Rules as a 14-year-old at high school, the Coast's 2010 VFL season was seen as a crucial apprenticeship in his three-year AFL deal, reportedly worth almost $3 million.

But McKenna feels he can do enough with the league fullback in 2011 pre-season training to get him up to speed to appear in the club's inaugural campaign.

He outlined playing Hunt in defence for a half and then in the forward 50 in his first game next year before trying him in the midfield for his second.

"I reckon it will probably take two weeks so I can play him in different positions," McKenna said.

Just two games in his first year will see him earn the sort of money international superstars David Beckham or Cristiano Ronaldo bank for a soccer match.

Hunt's former Broncos captain Gorden Tallis last month labelled his AFL defection a publicity stunt and questioned whether he was serious about the code after signing with Biarritz.

McKenna said the Coast were well aware of the drawback in getting Hunt midway through next year and defended his intentions.

"I know when he comes to me that he's a very driven individual, he wants to make it work," he said.

Former Geelong premiership player Nathan Ablett was among 30 players who began pre-season training under McKenna on Monday.

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