Karmichael Hunt: the ARU and QRU announcement 

The ARU and QRU have just announced the following punishment for Karmichael Hunt arising out of today’s guilty plea:

The Australian Rugby Union (ARU) and Queensland Rugby Union (QRU) today suspended Karmichael Hunt for six weeks and fined him $30,000.

The statement then goes on to say:

As Karmichael has already been made unavailable for selection for two weeks, he will return to competitive Rugby in Round Eight of the Super Rugby season.

So let’s be clear: it actually is only a 4 game suspension and not a 6 game suspension.  Let’s also be clear that the penalty incurred is less then 15% of Hunt’s contract value. 

I note the comments of the CEO of the Queensland Reds that this is also a player welfare issue and I will be glad if the Reds assist Hunt in getting the help he needs.  

Equally, as in the situation with Kurtley Beale, the ARU  has shown itself to be more interested in the welfare of a player over the welfare of the code because I have no doubt that fans of the game will be lost because yet another player has received a slap on the wrist when a sterner penalty surely was the public expectation when considered in line with community standards.  

I hope Hunt takes this golden ticket he has received and comes back a better player and a person for the Reds.  He has received an opportunity that most in the community would not have.  

Karmichael Hunt: In the interest of clarity

The Queensland Reds’ posted a statement this afternoon about the revelations regarding Karmichael Hunt. In that statement the following point is made:

Karmichael has not been arrested or charged. He has received a notice to appear.

Either the Queensland Reds have not been furnished with the Notice to Appear or they are receiving very poor legal advice because that statement is patently wrong!

A simple search of the Queensland Department of Justice website reveals that there are four ways one can be made to go to Court (in a criminal context) including the receipt by the defendant of a Notice to Appear. The page then goes on to describe the Notice to Appear thusly:

After being arrested, instead of placing you in custody, the police might give you a notice to appear and let you go home. They can give this to you when they charge you or will mail it to you. A Notice to Appear is a written document that tells you what you have been charged with and when and where you have to go to court.

For those who are further interested here is the link: http://www.justice.qld.gov.au/justice-services/courts-and-tribunals/going-to-court/defendants/when-to-go-to-court

Hunt, clearly, would not have received his Notice to Appear unless he was charged with an offence (or in this case four offences). To suggest otherwise is a nonsense plain and simple!

The Reds have, as an outsider looking in, fumbled their response to this from the get go. From the original statement which suggested that they first found out about the charge in the press through a statement that is not only legally wrong but also outlines a decision only to stand down Hunt for this coming weekend’s fixture the way this has been handled by the QRU has been amateur hour!

Here’s hoping the QRU’s response to this very serious issue improves. At the very least they have to get their facts correct. They also have to, as a minimum, suspend Hunt indefinitely. Any other approach is a joke.

Rugby: Another day, another player is off to France

Rod Davies has signed to play rugby for the next two seasons with Biarritz Olympique in France. It is a very sad, more to the point another sad, day for Queensland and Australian rugby fans.  Sad in two respects:

  1. Rod Davies is a talismatic player for the Reds.  When he is on the field and the ball is in his hands the crowd lifts.  You can almost here the fans, me included, thinking and saying “go on Rocket!!!”.  He is a player who brings young fans through the gates and will be missed by the team, the members and the fans.
  2. Yet again Australian rugby has been unable to retain a player playing in our top domestic competition and perenially on the cusp of Australian selection.  Rather, the player has preferred to play in the second division of French rugby for a team that won 5 of 20 games in the French Top 14 last year.  I am all for players setting themselves up for their careers post rugby but it saddens me that that same opportunity is not afforded to such a player in Australia.

Rod Davies is one of my favourite players to watch and I will miss him running around in a Reds jersey.  I am left to lament now his loss from Australian rugby and to ponder who might be next to chase the money (and future security).