Monthly Archives: August 2011
Sometimes we all get so caught up in what football players are doing off the field, that we forget that the only reason we know their names is because of the things they do on it. Here ‘On The Try Line’ I’ve decided to shine a light on players who have been doing things in the shadows. This isn’t an article about some ‘never heard of’ player who is rising up, it’s about players who have done good things this year and will continue to do so as long as they play football.
WELCOME TO VOLUME 1 OF ‘ON THE TUBE LINE’
How many times have you answered ‘No’ to the following questions?
“Did you see that (insert football related action here) on the weekend”
“Have you ever seen that (football action) that happened a few years back”
I bet it’s more than you would care to admit. If you are poor like me then you don’t have Pay TV so you are stuck with whatever games Channel 9 decides to show that weekend. Meaning on average you are only watching 37% of football for that weekend. That’s why you are responding negatively when punters ask you these things on Monday morning.
This is the article I’ve wanted to do write about ever since starting ‘On the Try Line’. An article I read recently inspired me to do some research. The only problem I have with writing about this guy is that he doesn’t play Rugby League and since I’m writing columns about Rugby League it seems rather hypocritical. So let’s get one thing straight before I start – this article is more of a ‘what if’ type scenario. Think of it in same way you would an article about Quade Cooper coming over to the NRL.
Now unless you were living in a house in Abbottabad for the last 10 years you would know that Mr Karmichael Hunt defected from the Rugby League to Aussie Rules in 2009. Last year he played in the VFL (Victorian Football League) and this year is his first in the AFL playing for the Gold Coast Suns (one of the more tidier sporting names). The thing that grabbed my attention is the fact that at the end of next year Karmichael is off contract with the Suns and the rumours are out on where he may end up.
The way I see it he has four options:
- He can continue to play AFL
- He can re-join Rugby League and be the first player to go from NRL to AFL and back again
- He can pick up a Rugby Union contract and be the first player to play 3 football codes successfully
- He can co-host MVP with Steve Carfino on ONE HD
I love thinking about where he could end up. Mostly because of the responses the general sporting public will make. By the general public I’m also including my brother Matt who was and still is for that matter, Hunts biggest fan. Once, I compared Jharal Yow Yeh to Hunt and his response was
“No way, dude! Remember that 2007 Semi Final match where Karmichael side stepped the opposition, the referees, the touchies and the video referee. Yow Yeh could never do that!”
We were drinking when he said this and it was after a South Sydney win so I could be remembering it differently. Being such a huge fan meant that’s Hunt’s defection to AFL caused my brother to lock himself indoors for a few weeks and listen to ‘Cats n the Cradle’ on repeat.
Anyway, no matter where Hunt decides he wants to play football there will be a backlash. AFL fans will be disappointed if he leaves, NRL fans will be disenchanted if he doesn’t come back and ARU fans will be stoked that somebody is talking about their sport. Since we are NRL fans let’s focus on some of the likely and a few of the unlikely scenarios I believe could happen if Karmichael were to come back to Rugby League.
Karmichael Hunt has called a press conference to announce which team he will be playing for when he returns to the National Rugby League in 2013
“For the season of 2013 I’ll be returning to where it all started and playing for the Brisbane Broncos”
This scenario seems mostly likely to happen. I’ve looked at some stats and if you’re a Brisbane fan you’ll be happy to know that if Hunt does return to your team (depending on injuries and fitness level) things can only look better.
Of his numbers from his debut in 2004 to his departure in 2009 – Brisbane had on average a 63% chance of winning when Hunt was on the field. That said he had a 43% chance of scoring a try in those games. In 2009 alone they won 15 of the 23 games he played.
Now let’s say Hunt doesn’t defect and plays in 2010 and is involved in at least 22 games (take out 4 for origin, tests and possible injuries) then you are looking at a Brisbane team who statistically could have made the finals in 2010.
Yes, just by playing the numbers game you can tell that Brisbane want Karmichael back at their club.
“To return to the NRL I’m going to need someone to mentor me which is why for the 2013 season I’ll be playing for the Newcastle Knights”
Wayne Bennett had some good advice for Hunt when he first started playing NRL; he said ‘remember to always have fun’. Did it look like he was having fun at the end? I don’t think so. If he was reunited with his old mentor I think Bennett would do the following: He’d slot Boyd in at the fullback position, he’d have Gidley playing hooker, Mullen at halfback and play Hunt at five eighth. There’s a premiership winning combination right there. Now for all you Novocastrians who just blew up about Gidley not playing 5/8 here is my explanation:
When he was at Brisbane Karmichael wasn’t playing in his prime position. Bennett was training him to become a 5’8. He knew that they day Lockyer retired he would need another version. Wayne Bennett was training Hunt to become Darren Lockyer 2.0. The move from fullback to 5’8 would have happened in 2012 (due to Lockyer’s Retirement) and I think Karmichael would have thrived in this position.
(Fun parable – if Bennett is Bill Gates then Lockyer is Windows XP, Hunt is Windows Vista and Darius is essentially Windows 7).
The only reason this scenario wouldn’t happen is because Karmichael is so in love with playing football in QLD and this next scenario proof of that fact…
“I’ve spoken with my family and I’m happy to move down to Sydney and play football for a club with a long history like South Sydney”
What? You’re pissed off because I created a scenario where my team gains a quality player? Well it’s my website so screw you buddy!!
This scenario falls into the category of ‘Highly Unlikely’ because although it would be perfect for the Rabbitohs it wouldn’t be for Karmichael because he loves playing football in the Sunshine State. So much so that in 2006 when the Bunnies offered him almost 500k per season to play for them he turned it down. After signing with Brisbane and being asked about the other possible contracts Karmichael stated that ‘there was never any doubt I was going to play football in Brisbane’.
It’s a wonderful just imagining this scenario but it’s HIGHLY unlikely that he would join the Cardinal and Myrtle in 2013.
How about we try another team that needs a quality player?
“I’ve spoken with Shane and the move to the Cronulla Sharks is the best option for me in 2013”
How many people in the crowd at the press conference would giggle a little bit if he said that? Wouldn’t it be funny to watch a class act like Hunt play for a second rate team like Cronulla? Funny isn’t the right word. It would be amusing like a car crash is comical. The Sharks management wouldn’t know what to do with themselves. You could imagine Richard Fisk having surgery like the Joker in Batman just so he could smile all the time. This would be their first quality signing since…well forever!
Cronulla needs a player like Hunt like the farmer from the McCain’s ads needs ‘rains’. The problem is they just don’t have the architecture to support him. The coach is second rate, the fans are even worse, Paul Gallen has the biggest shoulders in the NRL (literally and metaphorically) from carrying the side over the line and it just wouldn’t work. It would be like putting a chandelier in a sh*thouse.
I’m not saying that the Sharks don’t deserve some talent but it’s best to build than to buy in their case.
“I’m happy to be the first key signing for the Brisbane Bombers in 2013”
This scenario falls into the “Almost Impossible” category for a couple of reasons. For those of you who don’t know the Brisbane Bombers is the contender for the NRL expansion in the coming years. For this setting we would need David Gallop to approve a new side and for that side to be ready in 2013 so Hunt would have a team. I know in the news they are talking about putting in this team and getting Hunt as their key signing but I don’t actually see them HAVING a side ready for his return. Plus why would Hunt go from playing football with a quality team like the Broncos to playing for the Essendon…oops I means the Brisbane Bombers?
At the end of it all the chance of him defecting again are very low. By all accounts (when I say all accounts I mean the 2 guys I know who watch AFL) Hunt is starting to find form in the AFL. Unfortunately for most of the Rugby League fans, who were hoping he fell on his face he is actually starting to get a rhythm on. If you compared him with most first year players he wouldn’t be the best but he wouldn’t be the worst either. So the real question remains does he want to return the sport where he wore a crown or stay where he is to try make a name for himself?
All I wanted to prove to you was that the NRL lost a player of true Rugby League potential when Hunt signed with the Suns. If you’re not convinced of that then send me a message and my brother will prove it to you. Ultimately it could be a long time before we see Karmichael Hunt ‘On The Try Line’.