'Can't be worse': Karmichael Hunt's bid for Broncos NRL return

Chris Young
·Sports Reporter
·4-min read
Karmichael Hunt is vying for a return to the NRL after signing a train and trila deal with the Brisbane Broncos, who he won an NRL premiership with in 2006. (Photo by Matt King/Getty Images)
Karmichael Hunt is vying for a return to the NRL after signing a train and trila deal with the Brisbane Broncos, who he won an NRL premiership with in 2006. (Photo by Matt King/Getty Images)

Karmichael Hunt is vying for a shock return to the NRL, 10 years after he first left the league to pursue an AFL career with the Gold Coast Suns.

The former Brisbane Broncos star will reportedly return to his old club on a train and trial deal which is to begin on Monday.

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The former NRL rookie of the year has been absent from professional sports since his Super Rugby career came to an end in 2020, following a one-year deal with the NSW Waratahs.

Hunt has been playing league for Souths Logan in the Intrust Super Cup, notching three games in a bid to get back up to speed as quickly as possible.

Brisbane Broncos coach Kevin Walters ruled out making a play for Hunt as recently as two weeks ago, but with highly-paid five-eighth Anthony Milford coming under intense pressure thanks to an ongoing form slump, the Broncos have looked to pursue all options.

After helping guide Brisbane to their 2006 premiership, Hunt departed for French rugby league in 2009 before returning to Australia to join the AFL's newly-formed Gold Coast Suns in 2011.

Walters will reportedly test the 34-year-old Hunt in the halves, as the Broncos search for answers after starting the season 1-4.

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Broncos coach amazed Milford still playing

The axe finally fell on Anthony Milford this week but Kevin Walters is surprised the under-fire Brisbane five-eighth hadn't already quit after copping years of scrutiny the coach believes has been unfair.

Walters has dropped Milford for Thursday's clash with Penrith, with Brodie Croft and Tom Dearden preferred in the halves against the unbeaten Panthers at Suncorp Stadium.

It will be the ninth tweak to Brisbane's halves in the last 15 games, starting when former coach Anthony Seibold shifted Milford to fullback and promoted Dearden to halfback during their historic wooden spoon season.

Croft, Sean O'Sullivan, Tyson Gamble and Kotoni Staggs have worn the No.6 since, but Thursday will be the first time Milford has been dropped instead of shifted or missing through injury.

Anthony Milford has been dropped by the Brisbane Broncos as he battles an ongoing form slump. (Photo by Matt Roberts/Getty Images)
Anthony Milford has been dropped by the Brisbane Broncos as he battles an ongoing form slump. (Photo by Matt Roberts/Getty Images)

That's despite his generally underwhelming form since starring in their extra-time grand final loss to North Queensland in 2015.

A five-time title winner as a playmaker for Brisbane, Walters says he takes the challenge of "fixing up the Broncos" - and particularly their halves crisis - personally, but that he feels for 26-year-old Milford.

"The pressure he's received in the five years since that game, it's a lot to take on for a young man and I do feel sorry for Milf," Walters said.

"In some regards, he's been accused of everything (bad) that's happened here and it's really unfair.

"When you look at it, the scrutiny and pressure he's been under, it's amazing that he's still playing the game."

Milford's four-year deal worth reportedly around a club-record $4 million expires this year.

With AAP

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