Sport AFL Jason Akermanis slams AFL’s punt on Hunt

Jason Akermanis slams AFL’s punt on Hunt

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Thanks Gold Coast and the AFL for wasting our great game’s money and time with your recruitment of Karmichael Hunt… thanks for nothing.

Maybe that is a bit harsh, as Karmichael is a nice man and a talented individual. But the AFL and the Suns need to take some heat for overselling and under delivering on their investment.

Karmichael Hunt and Israel Folau arrived in the AFL with much fanfare. Both are now gone. Photo: Getty

Maybe I should have started with this: a quick memo to the Gold Coast Suns – you are not going to succeed by getting rugby league players and paying them $1,000,000 a year for four years. Never.

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Karmichael Hunt was supposed to be the next big thing and a great code-hopping success. What a shame it went so wrong.

The bad news is bad: 44 games, six wins, 38 losses. Dumped by the leadership group in 2013. He was paid an impressive $90,909.09 per game for four years.

Selling dreams to fools always ends in one side getting short changed.

The good news is that he played at the game’s highest level.

He kicked a winning goal in Cairns against Richmond, something every kid dreams of. Tried and tried and tried but couldn’t get there.

His body wasn’t good enough to play this type of game. He said as much himself.

Correction – he probably wasn’t good enough to get picked from now on. The money for promotion can’t work if your team now has better players than you and you will be unlikely to play unless they have lots of injuries.

Andrew Demetriou has had a bad couple of months of late after the whole amateurish ASADA debacle with Essendon.

Five years ago Andrew kindly met with Karmichael personally in Melbourne to convince him he should join our dynamic native game. He thought the Gold Coast Suns needed a local hero to bring in the fans.

Andrew also said his re-signing in 2012 was a “blessing” for Australian football.

“Our (contract) component is ­obviously to do with Karmichael’s promotional work and he’s delivered for the code above and beyond our expectations,” ­he said at the time.

Is that the same as Andrew saying our money has been well spent? Just promote the game and play occasionally, that will do?

The highlight of Hunt’s time on the Gold Coast was his after-the-siren winner against Richmond. Photo: Getty

Having grown up in Queensland I wanted nothing more than for this to work.

Karmichael is married to my old buddy Russell Harding’s daughter Emma. I played at the Brisbane Lions when his brother-in-law Scotty Harding played there. I have plenty of time for Russell and Karmichael.

But decisions with money of this scale should never be taken lightly, and I am sure they were not.

An image is never any good if you have no substance to back it up.

My opinion is, wouldn’t it have been better to spend that $4 million in the development of someone who has grown up, lived and breathed football on the Gold Coast?

That same kid then goes on to be a star and a success for the Gold Coast Suns? Much like Michael Voss, Clark Keating, Marcus Ashcroft, Mal Michael and myself, who are all Queensland kids and who all went on to play in three premierships for the Brisbane Lions. A homegrown kid.

Karmichael was speculative, at best.

I wonder if any other retiring ‘greats of the game’ will get a tribute from new CEO Gill McLaughlin as ‘K’ did via a poorly unchecked video this year?

Karmichael can now go freely and earn some more big money, in rugby union with the Queensland Reds this time.

Well they have enough to pay him. I don’t blame Karmichael. I blame the gullible people who fell for it.

The AFL and the Gold Coast Suns can spin this as much as they want. They should be saying sorry. Sorry to the fans and sorry for the companies that put in huge money to be involved with the AFL.

Selling dreams to fools always ends in one side getting short changed.

At least Karmichael leaves the club on great terms. They have spoken of his great work to play at the elite level. And for the record it is good to see clubs farewell players properly.

Maybe it wasn’t so bad after all. Or maybe it will be a lesson for our great game. Stick to what you are good at. Save your money and get kids to promote the game who play it and know it.

Selling an image is never any good if you have no substance to back it up.

– Aker.

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