It is pretty clear that Karmichael Hunt is looking to return to the NRL in 2015 and right now it looks like the Gold Coast Titans are favoured to sign him just ahead of the Brisbane Broncos.
Hunt’s manager took less than 48 hours to toss his clients name up in the media after the NRL had announced that it would bring in powers to pay players from other competitions to join the NRL and that those payments would not count towards a teams salary cap.
Obviously David Riolo wants to see Hunt become the first player to receive the NRL’s money under this central contract scheme. I don’t think he should happen though.
Karmichael Hunt may have been a very good Rugby League player once, but he was not the type of player that people tuned in to watch on a weekly basis. He didn’t have the same massive interest that players such as Israel Folau or Sonny Bill Williams are able to generate. That doesn’t mean he is a bad played, it just means for what ever reason people don’t show the same interest in him.
I’ve always found it amazing the way Rugby League has been able to create players who are stars. So much so that other sports buy Rugby League players hoping some of the magic can be drawn their way.
What makes a player like Sam Tomkins different from everyone else? He isn’t the best fullback in the sport, hell he might not even be the best fullback at his own club, but he has that star factor that is hard to explain.
There are some players who just transcend the sport. They can be great players, they can be OK players, they can be winners, or they can be playing for terrible clubs. Rugby League has stars that shine bright, and it’s something we should all be pretty proud of.
At his best, Hunt was a great player. Was he one of the games superstars? No.
While people lamented the loss of Folau and pleaded with the NRL to do something to get him back, you rarely if ever hear people saying the same thing about Karmichael Hunt.
Hunt would be a handy addition to just about any club. While his injury problems in recent years and time out of the game are a concern, he has enough natural ability to at least get the job done for someone.
The NRL needs to be careful that it doesn’t get drawn in to being expected to pay every non NRL player a boatload of cash to return to the sport if that money isn’t going to be return in huge amounts of publicity. The NRL has already said as much, warning clubs they will not be buying every second player that decided they want to test themselves in the NRL.
In my opinion, if Hunt wants to return to the NRL it is up to a club to get the deal done. In my opinion Karmichael Hunt is not the calibre of star the NRL should be chipping in to ensure he returns to the game.