Former Wallabies star Karmichael Hunt is eyeing up a potential return to the NRL in the wake of his dumping from the Waratahs in Super Rugby.
Hunt, who played in six tests for the Wallabies in 2017, has been left without a contract in rugby union after the Waratahs opted against renewing his contract last month.
Hampered by off-field issues in years gone by, the 34-year-old failed to regain his place in the Australian test side following his move to Sydney from the Reds, where he fell out of favour with head coach Brad Thorn, at the beginning of last year.
Now he has suffered a similar with the Waratahs, leaving Hunt to survey his options in the twilight of his career.
Retirement is among the avenues being considered by the triple-code star, who has played at the highest levels in union, league and Australian football, but a report from The Daily Telegraph suggests Hunt’s playing days could still go on.
The former Brisbane Broncos star told The Telegraph he is looking playing opportunities within union and league both within Australia and abroad.
“It’s kind of a period of limbo, to be honest, having finished up with the Waratahs officially, a couple of months ago now, uncertain with what’s going to happen next year,” Hunt told The Telegraph.
“I understand that my manager is obviously still doing his job, looking for some openings at clubs overseas, trying to field some offers at the clubs in Australia, not just rugby circles, but back in rugby league as well.
“So it’s limbo, it’s uncertainty. It’s a whole lot of unknown.
“It’s quite a vulnerable position compared to what I’m normally used to. And that’s certainly having a contract and playing football, and when pre-season is starting and I know when I have to be there.
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“I don’t have any of that right now. So it’s all up in the air.”
It was in rugby league where Hunt started his professional career as a 17-year-old rookie with the Broncos, where he won an NRL title and played State of Origin for Queensland as well as test rugby league for the Kangaroos.
A brief spell in rugby union with French club Biarritz between 2009 and 2010 was then followed by a four-season spell in the AFL with the Gold Coast Suns, before Hunt moved back to union by joining the Reds in 2015.
Whether he prolongs his union career or returns to league after an 11-year hiatus remains to be seen, but if he can’t land a playing role for next season or beyond, then Hunt has plans for his post-playing career.
“I’ve been diligently chipping away at my undergrad, my psych undergrad with USQ (University of South Queensland) over the last four and a half, five years, I’ll graduate after semester one next year,” Hunt told The Telegraph.
“You’ve got to do the honours and then you’ve got to specialise in a particular field and I’d love to head down the track of sports psych.
“My grades are good enough, they’re quite competitive at this point in time. Hopefully I can sort of push into that a little bit more seriously.
“And the other avenue for me is, I want to give back as a coach and I want to go and do that rugby league.
“So if it turns out I can’t play professionally, or no worthwhile offer comes to play professionally, I’m going to have to seriously start thinking about pushing into the next phase of my life, and that’s coaching and my studies.”
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