Fans won't see much of Hunt this year - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Fans won't see much of Hunt this year

By Wayne Heming 24/02/2010 04:50:42 PM Comments (0)

As curious as Gold Coast fans are to get a glimpse of high profile rugby league convert Karmichael Hunt they'll have to wait until the expansion club's AFL debut next year.

Hunt will make a couple of cameo appearances in the VFL after returning from playing rugby in France in May, but after that he'll be packed away in ice by the club.

It seems a little odd to shell out $3 million on a player who's unproven at the game, give him two or three trials in a second grade competition then trot him out as a major drawcard in such an historic game.

But that's exactly coach Guy McKenna's plan for the 23 year-old former Broncos, Queensland and Australian fullback, currently playing rugby union for Biarritz in France.

McKenna denied the club was shielding Hunt from public view in case he struggled to pick up the game, losing some of his drawing power before the club's big AFL arrival.

He conceded Hunt probably wouldn't look great in his few VFL trials anyway because of all the football he's played over the past 12 months without a break.

"He mightn't look that flash anyway because he is absolutely snookered from so much football and might barely be a able to lift a leg," said McKenna.

"We're conscious of that.

" .... Andrew Weller (skills and conditioner) has been in the game for six years, I've been around footy long enough, Shaun Hart has as well, so we're confident we'll be able to up-skill him.

"What we can't have is him being physically and mentally burnt out before 2011."

McKenna plans to keep Hunt going when he arrives back in May and play him in a couple of VFL games.

"After that, we'll put him on ice," he said.

Quizzed about the "K-plan" McKenna said: "we're not trying to be smart about it".

"If we get him straight back (in May) - and remember he has just had a year in rugby league and would have played at least a dozen games of rugby in France - are we going to ask him to play 10 games for us?

"I guarantee you he would be right to go, but I'd also guarantee you he wouldn't be right to play in 2011 because he wouldn't be able to lift a leg."

McKenna believes two or three VFL games will be enough for coaches to assess Hunt's skills and what position he would play, down back, midfield or up forward.

"It will be enough to have a look at his skills and work out a development program for him and then give him the rest of the time off then he will do a pre-season like everyone else," he said.

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