The unique sporting career of three-code football star Karmichael Hunt is in jeopardy after the Australian rugby international was charged with drug possession and stood down from all playing and training activities by Rugby Australia.
Hunt was arrested in the city’s Fortitude Valley nightlife district early on Saturday morning after police allegedly caught the 31-year-old with “a white powder” believed to be cocaine.
Police allegedly discovered the suspected drug stash after searching the 31-year-old Wallabies representative in a car park in Brisbane’s Fortitude Valley at about 12.40am.
Hunt’s lawyer Adam Magill says the star voluntarily put all contractual rugby obligations on ice as Rugby Australia issued its edict.
“He is not in a good way emotionally” Mr Magill said, describing his client as “devastated and very upset”.
“The penny is starting to drop and he is just coming to terms with what is in jeopardy.”
Hunt re-signed with the Queensland Reds in November for another two years.
Mr Magill said he could not give his client any advice, as he had not yet seen a police summary of the facts.
“I am stuck between a rock and a hard place as I don’t know what the allegations are,” Mr Magill said.
Mr Magill said Hunt also was trying to deal with family issues on top of everything else.
Saturday morning’s incident was not Hunt’s first brush with the law.
In March, 2015, he was fined $2,500 after pleading guilty to four counts of cocaine possession and also fined $30,000 by rugby officials and suspended for six weeks.
Hunt was among seven Gold Coast Titans players charged over an alleged drugs ring uncovered by Queensland’s Crime and Corruption Commission.
The Queensland Reds representative has been charged with two counts of drug possession and will face Brisbane Magistrates Court on January 29.
Hunt’s lawyer, Adam Maggill, confirmed the 31-year-old had been charged, saying his client was very upset with the situation.
It’s not the first time Hunt has been in trouble, having pleaded guilty in a Gold Coast court to four counts of drug possession in 2015.
He was charged after being caught up in the same Queensland Crime and Corruption Commission investigation into a cocaine trafficking syndicate in the state’s southeast that resulted in several Gold Coast Titans NRL players also being charged.
Hunt admitted back then to not having a “perfect past” but swore he did not have a drug problem after pleading guilty to four charges of cocaine possession.
He later admitted to a “terrible mistake” before apologising to his family and friends and vowing he would get himself into no more trouble.
“I can’t repay the faith overnight but I look forward to hopefully repaying the faith over the next couple of years on the field and off the field,” Hunt said at the time.
” I want to … move forward and, obviously, get back out on the field and play some footy when I can. “That is what I was brought here for.”
The Australian Rugby Union (ARU) imposed their own penalty, fining Hunt $30,000 and suspending him for six weeks.
Since that controversy, Hunt has established himself at the Reds and made his first Australian international rugby appearance against Fiji in June.
He made six appearances for the Wallabies in 2017 and was rewarded with a two-year contract extension in November with an eye on playing in the 2019 World Cup in Japan.
The ARU said in a statement it was aware of the incident.
“Rugby Australia takes all matters relating to the off-field behaviour of its players seriously and has commenced an investigation into the incident in conjunction with the Queensland Rugby Union,” the statement read.
Hunt’s career will almost certainly hinge on the outcome of the investigation.
A 32-year-old man who was with Hunt at the time has also been issued with a notice to appear.
The other man has been charged with possession of an item used in regards to a drug offence, understood to be a mobile phone.
The unusual sporting career of footballer Karmichael Hunt.
2004 – Debuts in the NRL for the Brisbane Broncos, the youngest-ever Bronco on debut as a 17-year-old.
2006 – Wins NRL premiership with Broncos. Makes debuts for Queensland in State of Origin and Australia, winning the Tri-Nations title.
2008 – Hunt becomes youngest player in premiership history to play 100 first-grade rugby league games. In September, Hunt and Broncos teammates Darius Boyd and Sam Thaiday are accused of sexual assault but police clear them of the allegations in November.
2009 – Hunt signs a deal reportedly worth over $3 million to switch codes and joing the newly formed Gold Coast expansion AFL club. Plays a six-month stint of professional rugby union in France before commencing his AFL contract.
2010 – Plays first Australian rules football match for Gold Coast in the Victorian Football League.
2011 – Makes AFL debut for the Gold Coast Suns in round two against Carlton. Kicks first AFL goal in May against Geelong. Wins the Suns’ most improved player award.
2012 – Re-signs with the Suns until 2014. In a round 16 clash with Richmond in Cairns, Hunt kicks a winning goal after the siren as he proves his AFL credentials.
2014 – After managing just 10 games in his final two seasons with the Suns, Hunt announces he is leaving the sport to switch to rugby union, signing with the Queensland Reds.
2015 – Appointed vice-captain of the Reds along with Rob Simmons in January, Hunt faces a Gold Coast court in March where he pleads guilty to four counts of possessing cocaine and is fined. Handed a six-week suspension by the Australian Rugby Union.
2016 – Named in Australia’s preliminary squad for the series against England but doesn’t make the final cut.
2017 – Makes Wallabies debut in June against Fiji, earning six caps before signing a two-year contract extension in November. Arrested by police on December 30 in Brisbane, Hunt is charged with two counts of drug possession and will face court in January.
-with AAP and ABC