Exiled Wallaby fullback Karmichael Hunt returned to rugby yesterday for the first time in seven months since being arrested in December last year for drug possession. The charges were dropped due to a lack of evidence but the incident put him out favour with the Reds, who have not picked him to play this season.
“I’m grateful to play footy … it’s good to be back,” Hunt told the Courier Mail following the match.
“I’d be lying not to say I didn’t think that would be the case from what I was hearing.”
Not everyone is happy with Hunt’s return to the game, with fans and former players fed up with Hunt’s off-field issues.
“You’re right. Everyone who knows me understands I’m not perfect but I do my best to give everything to family, friends and football,” Hunt said.
“I do make mistakes and I have let people down and heavy-heartedly that really effects me.
“I can’t thank Souths, the president Tony (Shepley) and the boys here enough for the chance.
“The body does feel good because six or seven months off was a blessing in disguise (for my body) getting over niggles I’ve have had since forever.”
Hunt donned the number 18 jersey off the bench for 30-minutes of action, teaming up with Souths flyhalf Quade Cooper in what surely is the most expensive backline in amateur rugby. The combined value of both players contracts with the Reds is estimated to be in excess of AUD$1 million.
Hunt’s comeback match wasn’t the perfect fairytale return, but he did set-up the match-tying try with a long cutout pass to winger Emori Waqavulagi. Cooper had a chance to win with the conversion but sprayed it wide right and the game ended 24-all.
Souths are setting in third place on the QPR ladder, and with Cooper’s presence this season have played an expansive game that is highly entertaining. The team’s form has seen long-time Souths utility back Teti Tela called up to the Reds bench for Friday night’s clash against the Rebels but he was unable to get onto the park.
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