Hunt's back as Broncos find NRL voice

·2-min read

Darren Lockyer admits Karmichael Hunt could be Brisbane's answer in the halves as the three-code star prepares to return to Red Hill just as the under-fire NRL club show fresh signs of life.

Hunt, who replaced Lockyer at fullback for the Broncos as a teenager, hasn't played NRL since 2009.

But after stints in the AFL and Super Rugby the 34-year-old is on the cusp of an incredible NRL return after being sounded out by Kevin Walters to train with the side as soon as next week.

"He'll still be playing his football at Souths (in the Queensland Cup), but Kev is going to keep a close eye on him," Lockyer told Channel Nine.

"He's playing centres at Souths, but in terms of having a voice in those key positions at No.6 or 7 he can do a job there (because) he is a talker and great communicator."

Walters had dismissed the idea a fortnight ago but on Thursday, after his side's much-improved 20-12 loss to Penrith, said their efforts over the previous two weeks had brought a change of heart.

"Am I allowed to change my mind?" he said.

"The performance of the side (is what forced him to reconsider).

"I feel Karmichael can add to the group with his presence, so we'll see what happens."

Walters had dropped five-eighth Anthony Milford for the Suncorp Stadium clash and delivered a surprisingly aggressive pre-game address to the squad.

It seemed to work, Brisbane building a 12-10 lead and hanging on until the 74th minute, when Nathan Cleary kicked a two-point field goal then a match-sealing try.

Brodie Croft and Tom Dearden pulled the strings in the halves but Cleary showed the value of a clutch playmaker to procure the win.

Walters was left lamenting post-game how Brisbane let their chances slip.

"If we get a couple of little things better with our attack we win the game tonight," he said.

"This club's about winning and that's our third or fourth loss in a row.

"I want to win, that's what we want to do. The effort was great, we had our chances to win, but we didn't."

Their clear plan at least resonated with recalled winger Corey Oates.

"Just run hard, hit hard, do it for 80 minutes, be proud to wear the jersey, play for the fans, your family and the town," he said.

"We've done it one week. There's 19 weeks to go now so keep doing that week in, week out and results will start coming."