Hunt earns nod from AFL great - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Hunt earns nod from AFL great

By Laine Clark 23/07/2010 04:45:19 PM Comments (0)

Four games into his AFL education, code hopper Karmichael Hunt has already earned a rap from a Hall of Famer - although he may be a bit biased.

As a Gold Coast Suns director, AFL legend Malcolm Blight will be hoping against hope that Hunt is a success when the 17th club makes their 2011 debut.

But Blight looked sincere when he seemed to take Hunt aside - albeit in front of 600 people at the Suns' official launch - to deliver a glowing assessment of his transition.

Blight was going through the motions in his interview with Hunt during the gala dinner on Thursday night that confirmed the AFL's worst kept secret - the 17th club would be known as the Gold Coast Suns.

But Blight seemed to throw out the script midway when he looked Hunt in the eye.

"This is a courageous thing you are doing," he said.

"One thing you will find is that you can be a great kick, a great mark in our game.

"But if you don't play with heart you are not going anywhere.

"And seeing you play in the games, you have a tremendous heart - you are halfway there."

Hunt's steep learning curve continues when he plays his fifth VFL game for the Gold Coast this weekend against Sandringham.

Although named in a back pocket, Hunt is expected to rotate through the midfield for the first time in his budding Aussie Rules career.

While relishing the chance to play, Hunt said his days of playing social basketball had helped most in his AFL crash course.

"I played about eight games (of Aussie Rules as a schoolboy) - I don't remember much of it to be honest," Hunt said.

(But) playing basketball, it is another game that is played at 360 degrees so that has helped me out a great deal."

Asked to rate his AFL progress, the former Bronco said: "I can't complain.

"I have got some of the best in the business who are working with me daily in terms of my footy.

"I feel pretty comfortable with where I am at.

"And I am gaining more confidence with the games I am getting."

There were no signs from Hunt to justify recent rumblings that the former NRL star was having second thoughts about his switch.

Certainly not when he was one of six players to model the Gold Coast Suns' three playing strips for 2011 on Thursday night.

Or when he linked arms with his new teammates to belt out the new team song - the stirring "We are the suns of the Gold Coast sky" - thanks mainly to lyrics on the big screen.

Remembering the team song may be a challenge, but Hunt also had AFL boss Andrew Demetriou singing his praises.

"It's hard to start a football club from scratch but it's even harder to start a career in the full glare of the public spotlight particularly when you have enjoyed such a high profile in another sport," Demetriou said.

"I am not sure if people appreciate the magnitude of what Karmichael has done - he is truly a trailblazer."

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