Karmichael Hunt ready for VFL: Hinkley - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Karmichael Hunt ready for VFL: Hinkley

By Melissa Woods and Daniel Brettig 11/06/2010 06:43:05 PM Comments (0)

Gold Coast AFL assistant coach Ken Hinkley says prized recruit Karmichael Hunt is showing no outward signs of nerves ahead of his Australian Rules debut.

The former rugby league international will turn out for Gold Coast in their VFL game against Coburg on Saturday, ahead of his AFL debut in next year's expanded competition.

Hunt looked comfortable as the side went through a short training drill on school grounds in Melbourne, slotting in at full-forward where he will play most of the game at Craigieburn.

Hinkley described the match as the "start of a journey" for Hunt and said there were no immediate expectations for the 23-year-old, other than a competitive effort.

"I don't think anyone would be surprised that we expect him to be very competitive at the footy," he said of Hunt, who has hasn't played the code since a handful of games during school days.

"We expect him to go there and run at the ball and create a few contests. With a bit of luck he might grab one or two and kick a goal."

Hinkley said he expected Hunt would be feeling nervous ahead of his first match, but he wasn't showing any signs.

"Looking at him you'd say no, but he wouldn't be human if he wasn't a little bit nervous," Hinkley said.

"The decision he's made to go where he has, there's obviously going to be some nerves involved but he's very collected with his thoughts and he knows what he's about."

Hunt, who has just returned from a short stint playing rugby union in France, will play initially in the goal square however Hinkley said he may finish the game as a defender.

"We haven't got a fixed plan for him ... he has to learn the game," he said.

Sydney's Tadhg Kennelly, who converted from Gaelic Football to become an AFL star, believed the transition would be difficult for Hunt and fellow Test league player Israel Folau, who announced earlier this month he would join the Greater Western Sydney franchise.

Kennelly said Hunt would have to kerb his rugby league instincts.

"Karmichael Hunt's instinct will just be to barrel blokes and tackling them and nailing blokes, so that's going to be his instinct," Kennelly said.

"That's something that'll have to change. I think their aggressiveness will still be part of their game, but it's going to be difficult to change your instinct."

But he added the pride in Hunt and Folau would mean they would work hard to prove themselves.

"You put the pressure on yourself as an individual - no-one wants to come over and switch codes and not make it," he said.

"I can guarantee those two players are not going to want to play a game of AFL and not do well.

"They might go back to rugby league, but if they do they'll want to go back as players who were able to play AFL.

"There's going to be a lot of that macho, egoistic stuff going on where they're going to have to prove themselves and want to prove themselves."

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