Karmichael Hunt: ‘My last chance’
New South Wales recruit Karmichael Hunt says he knows his move to the Waratahs is his last chance in the elite sport arena.
Hunt signed a one-year deal with the Super Rugby franchise after Queensland Reds coach Brad Thorn had lost patience with the code hopper after a second off-field indiscretion.
The 32-year-old found himself in trouble late in 2017 when he was arrested on drugs charges.
Hunt had cocaine charges dropped, but pleaded guilty to possessing Xanax – resulting in a fine of $10,000 and four-game ban by Rugby Australia.
He also previously pleaded guilty to cocaine possession in 2015 with a $30,000 fine and six-game suspension the penalty.
The former Wallaby says he learnt from his mistakes and is better suited to manage any tough situations that come his way.
“The ups and downs I’ve gone through over the last few years has put me in a good position to look forward to this year up ahead with the Tahs and put my best foot forward and play some good football, but also have an impact off the field as well,” Hunt said.
“It’s funny how things work out, a year ago I was sitting at home not knowing what was installed for my future.
“But here we are at the start of 2019 and it’s one of the best teams in the competition and I think it’s a really good pat on the back for myself as a person.
“The process for getting me down here hasn’t been easy, there’s been some tough questions asked, there’s been a lot of things done by the Tahs to make sure they’re comfortable with my role here, it’s a really good pat on the back.
“They said from day one – look we want to bring you down here to support you not only footywise but off the field – it’s my second day down here and I couldn’t be happier with the place and the guys.”
Hunt is currently living in the garage of Tahs’ coach Daryl Gibson as he attempts to settle into the harbour city with his family.
He also opened up on the issue of illicit drug-taking in sport which has come to prominence in recent times on the back of the behaviour of several sporting stars.
“I think everyone’s aware,” Hunt said.
“I can only speak from my perspective, it’s not just an elite sportsperson issue, it’s a social issue, it’s a society issue.
“When you’re full of grog, the decisions are not crystal clear, you can get caught in compromised positions.
“I think more education around that and just understanding what tips you over the edge has been the biggest lesson for me.
“The biggest lesson over the last year or so is that hiding my emotions and my feelings and how I’m going (it) just burns a fire inside of me and sometimes tips me over the edge.
“I’ve done a lot of work on myself and I’m sure for me life is an evolution year by year, day by day, it’s all about learning about yourself and how to do better.
“I’ve learnt some tough lessons about myself, but it’s lessons that have been worthwhile.”
Hunt has played six Tests for the Wallabies and will be a welcome boost for the franchise – who will also welcome back Adam Ashley-Cooper.
He is also one of only a few players to have tried their hand across all three of Australia’s major sporting codes – having spent time with the Gold Coast Suns and Queensland Reds after starting out with the Brisbane Broncos in 2004.
The Waratahs first match of the 2019 Super Rugby season gets underway on February 16 against the Hurricanes at Brookvale Oval.
Click ‘play’ to hear the full interview below.