Hunt won't win Coast fans, Mickan says - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Hunt won't win Coast fans, Mickan says

By Darren Cartwright 03/06/2010 12:58:45 PM Comments (0)

Success, not high-profile league converts, is what will attract sponsors and supporters to the new Gold Coast club, according to inaugural Brisbane Bears captain Mark Mickan.

Mickan said the AFL had obviously learnt from the dreadful mistakes made when it rushed to create the Bears in 1987 by giving Gold Coast generous recruiting and draft concessions.

However, he questioned Gold Coast's fishing expedition in recruiting NRL star Karmichael Hunt.

Mickan said GCFC should take hardened, mature players from state leagues to form the nucleus of a very competitive AFL side and bypass NRL converts.

"I think it was a real struggle in the first place (setting up the Bears); the whole process was done in a hurry compared to what the Gold Coast is doing now," Mickan told AAP.

"In terms of concessions, Gold Coast needed the strong framework they have been given. It seems excessive, but it is necessary because it's very important that team does well early.

"The principles of sport apply and people really like to see a competitive effort and strong contest. If they can apply that week in week out I really think it can work.

"The novelty of a rugby league player playing AFL will wear off very quickly if it doesn't work."

When the Bears were created, existing clubs were required to give the side two players each but most were cast-offs and misfits.

The Bears won their first two matches before the 1987 season quickly went pear-shaped, yet Mickan - who played 48 games in four seasons with Brisbane - said those two victories were among the sweetest he experienced in his career.

"For us to win our first two games, one at the MCG and one at Kardinia Park, stands out in my time in sport as two of the greatest wins," he said.

Now coaching Glenelg in the SANFL, Mickan has watched with interest how the Gold Coast side has unfolded and their reasoning for recruiting Hunt from the Brisbane Broncos.

"It has been a success from a marketing point of view, but even then I am not sure as the Brisbane Lions are already established in the game and have made giant strides in Queensland in recent years," he said.

"I have never seen Karmichael Hunt attempt to play Aussie rules football, but I'd be sceptical as its underestimating the game a little bit.

"Karmichael Hunt is probably a fantastic athlete and great at the sports he grew up with, but the adaptation to our game is very different.

"You look at the Irish boys that come over, their game is much closer to Aussie rules than any of the codes of rugby and I'm not sure what the ratio of success there is, but it has not been easy for them."

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