ADVERTISEMENT

Karmichael Hunt and the ARU's realistic response

BY joshbristow  ·  Saturday Apr 11, 2015

The Reds are on the ropes, winless since round 2 and facing a huge injury crisis. But perhaps the most interesting subplot of the situation is the subsequent fast tracking of Karmichael Hunt’s shot at atonement. Josh Bristow takes a closer look.

With James O’Connor out for one week Hunt has regained the starting fullback position for Queensland’s match against the Bulls on Saturday.

It will be the first real step on the former league internationals path to redemption.

It’s not hard to forget the gut punch Queensland fans received when news broke that Hunt was to be charged with cocaine supply.

Here was the teams biggest off season signing in years, an athlete who could provide the power, finesse and experience from Rugby League combined with four years worth of kicking lessons in the Australian Football League.

The only other player to have travelled the same path to Super Rugby is Israel Folau, who became the best back in Australia within six months.

The Reds were signing Hunt, arguably the better NRL player and inarguably the better Aussie Rules footballer; he’d even played in a Heineken Cup Final!

Combined with a 2014 season where Queensland finally came crashing down to the reality of a post 2011 world, it was hard not to be excited.

With fans finding the shock of the situation hard to deal with, the decision by the ARU and the QRU to stick by Hunt angered many but on reflection it has been the right decision.

Admittedly if the Reds weren’t circling the wooden spoon Hunt would be playing Rugby League in Northern England faster than one could utter “Wendell Sailor”.

The full story won’t be finalized until the five Gold Coast Titans Rugby League players who were charged alongside Hunt have had their day in court, but Karmichael’s rap sheet is hardly gripping reading.

Karmichael pleaded guilty to possession of cocaine, which is a crime for sure, but one that the legal system decided required no conviction and a paltry $2,500 fine.

It’s a far distance away from when the Queensland Crime and Corruption Commission triumphantly declared that Hunt and other footballers would be charged with supply of the class-A drug.

Bizarrely, Hunt was initially charged with supplying himself – another sign that this ‘drug-bust’ (one with a guaranteed media interest) might have been more about appearing to do something on the QCAC’s part than actually safeguarding the community.

Hunt admits he took the drug on a month long end of season party that concluded his final season in the AFL.

Therefore calls for him to be immediately sacked a la Wendell Sailor were an overreaction.

Sailor was sacked because Cocaine is considered a performance enhancing drug and he was caught mid-season which gave the ARU immediate cause for dismissal.

Out of season and committed when he wasn’t technically an employee of the Reds, Hunt’s transgression is more of a moral quandary.

Undoubtedly drugs are a terrible scourge on modern society but the reality is if we were to sack every player who has ever tried drugs socially, we wouldn’t have a competition.

Karmichael’s real punishment is the difficulty he will now have attracting third party sponsors and the decreased opportunity to prove himself worthy of international honors.

Because Hunt can play, don’t kid yourself thinking anything else.

The only question is whether the woeful Reds pack can give him and Quade Cooper the platform they need to shine.

That leaves the journey to win back the minds of Reds and Wallaby fans, many of whom believe the slap on the wrist given to Hunt shatters the integrity of both organisations.

If Hunt makes the World Cup squad expect another outpouring of moral crusaders but surely if that happens he will have earned it through his actions on the field.

It is hard to recall if there was the same amount of disappointment in Kurtley Beale’s swift reinstatement last year.

The Jeremy Clarkson of Australian Rugby has built up his own rap sheet of incidents including punching a co-worker, sexual harassment and substance abuse that directly resulted in physical harm to others.

Despite this most forgave Beale after he played a huge role in the Waratahs Super Rugby triumph and put in solid performances for the Wallabies last year.

This discrepancy between the moral outrage towards drug use and the muted response to sexual harassment and alcohol abuse is another topic and an issue that transcends the world of sport, where players are forgiven if they can throw a ball around.

Therefore it is up to the individual to decide where they place recreational drug use on the sliding scale of unforgiveable acts, but you can be sure if Karmichael Hunt scores the winning try in a RWC final Australian fans will be cheering in unison.

Come Saturday evening, that’s all up to Hunt. 

– Josh Bristow

ADVERTISEMENT

Comments




Related Articles



ADVERTISEMENT

Great Tries

  • 1 WEEK AGO

    Bordeaux prop scores the ultimate front row try in the Top 14

  • 2 WEEKS AGO

    Northampton Saints youngster George Hendy seals the Premiership title

  • 2 WEEKS AGO

    Springbok centre tears it up in the Top 14 for a crucial hattrick

  • 2 WEEKS AGO

    English winger leaves defenders in his dust for long range score in Top 14

  • 11 WEEKS AGO

    Five of the best tries from the Investec Champions Cup

View All

Big Hits & Dirty Play

  • 8 HOURS AGO

    England enforcer's tour could be over following red card vs Japan

  • 3 DAYS AGO

    Pitch invader melted in thunderous tackle

  • 2 WEEKS AGO

    WATCH: Bath's Beno Obano shown red in the Premiership final

  • 2 WEEKS AGO

    World Player of the Year BANNED heading into Paris Olympics following horror challenge during Madrid SVNS

  • 2 WEEKS AGO

    Debate surrounding ludicrous rugby league tackle leaves union fans baffled

View All

See It To Believe It

  • 0 HOUR AGO

    Japanese lock pulls off moment of brilliance to create first try against England

  • 3 DAYS AGO

    Pitch invader melted in thunderous tackle

  • 2 WEEKS AGO

    Leinster prospect pulls off outlandish footballing skills in URC quarterfinal

  • 8 WEEKS AGO

    Danny care binned for high tackle on Courtney Lawes

  • 8 WEEKS AGO

    Wild start at Twickenham as Quins pull off another wonder-try

View All

Funnies

  • 2 WEEKS AGO

    Former French star's 'tackle of the season attempt' goes viral

  • 3 WEEKS AGO

    WATCH: Hilarious interaction between Simon Zebo and journalist

  • 7 WEEKS AGO

    Nick David unexpectedly shows up to semi final in full kit

  • 9 WEEKS AGO

    WATCH: The worst camera angle in rugby history

  • 10 WEEKS AGO

    Louis Rees-Zammit's real reason for NFL move exposed

View All

Amateur

  • 76 WEEKS AGO

    You Won’t See Many Better Than This Silky-Smooth Try From Llandovery RFC

  • 76 WEEKS AGO

    Incredible Scenes As Caldy RFC Hand Ealing First Championship Defeat Of The Season

  • 99 WEEKS AGO

    Dubious Score Decides Result Of Rugby's Biggest Schools Fixture

  • 99 WEEKS AGO

    Incredible Scenes At School Boys Rugby Match

  • 99 WEEKS AGO

    The Next Dominant Backrow?

View All

Player Features

  • 3 HOURS AGO

    The three standout players that drove England’s victory over Japan

  • 1 DAY AGO

    Shock recall for veteran fullback ahead of international tests

  • 4 DAYS AGO

    England announce starting XV for Japan test

  • 4 DAYS AGO

    Beauden Barrett returns to play for club side after 14 years

  • 1 WEEK AGO

    Andy Goode includes Joe Marler in his England XV to beat New Zealand on summer tour

View All