first_imgPhoto by: Michael Dodge (Wallabies Karmichael Hunt (L) and Dane Haylett-Petty celebrate a try against Fiji in Hunt’s rugby union test debut). Auckland-born Hunt received a big tick of approval following his performance at No.12 for the Wallabies in their 37-14 win over Fiji in Melbourne. It was a gamble for Michael Cheika to pick Hunt at inside-centre, given that the last time the 30-year-old featured there was for the Queensland Reds in round two last season. After a successful career in the NRL and then a stint with AFL club Gold Coast Suns, Hunt hit the headlines for all the wrong reasons during his transition into the 15-man code in 2015. Hunt was fined $30,000 by the Australian Rugby Union and suspended for six weeks after being charged with possession of cocaine. Hunt pleaded guilty to four counts of cocaine possession and was fined $2500 but no conviction for the offences was recorded.Having moved on from such a turbulent period in his career, Hunt found it hard to describe the feeling of making his Wallabies debut. “To get to this point has been a hard journey and wasn’t guaranteed with everything that went on,” Hunt said. “I’m really going to let it soak in. It was highly unlikely a few years back, so to be here now is a dream come true to be honest. “For me, I’m probably savouring the moment a lot more being a little bit older and more mature. It was good to be able to get my debut and get out there and complete 80 minutes and hopefully I’ll be better for the run.” One of the most interesting things about Hunt’s debut was the number of times he lined up at first receiver, with No.10 Bernard Foley on the outside of him. Cheika has always been a fan of employing two playmakers at No.10 and No.12 and in a first hit-out Hunt showed he could provide excellent assistance to Foley with his sharp passing and game awareness.  Hunt said trying to learn a myriad of different plays in just five training days was “hectic” and even though he felt out of his comfort zone, he was pleased with his first showing in a gold jersey. “I just had to get used to it and step up to playmaker,” Hunt said. “Being out of my comfort zone at 12, I was surprised by the fact when I got named at 12 but to be able to get out there and put a performance in and get my bearings … it is a relief. “It was hectic, trying to cram. I used to do that in grade 12 but never got the good grades. All in all, the most important thing for me was to back myself in terms of the knowledge I had gained.” Hunt now joins Folau in an illustrious club of players to reach the pinnacle of three different football codes. From their days at the Brisbane Broncos and running out together for Queensland in State of Origin clashes, Hunt said he loved having his good mate out on AAMI Park with him. “Our history is pretty well documented,” Hunt said. “Some of the best times we had were playing together at the Broncos and since then we’ve played opposite each other but to be on the same field was fantastic seeing him perform the way he did. I couldn’t be happier.” The Wallabies arrived in Sydney on Sunday and will begin preparing to take on Scotland, who beat Italy 34-13 on the weekend. “They looked pretty good, pretty sharp,” Cheika said. “It was pretty hot up there [in Singapore] and they were sweating up a storm. They’ve got a pretty complete squad; they’re missing a few to the [British and Irish] Lions. They scored three or four tries off mauls, so our set-piece is going to have to be on the money as well.”last_img

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