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 pleads guilty … where to from here?

I have been blown away by the breaking news from the Southport Magistrates Court this morning the the Queensland Reds “star” recruit has pleaded guilty to four counts of possession of cocaine.  To say I am gobsmacked at the early plea would be an understatement albeit, since news of the charges broke, I confess I expected this to be ultimate result. 

Hunt has been stood down from playing duties since he was charged.  Whilst there has been no indication as to the position with respect to his contract in this scenario from the Queensland Reds it is difficult to see how he can remain with the team.  

I have heard all of the arguments that the conduct of these players in taking recreational drugs is just an indicia of a broader problem in society and I agree that it is.  That being the case though, Hunt ought be dealt with by his employer in the same way any other employer would deal with an employee found guilty of multiple serious offenses under the criminal code.  His employment contract will have in it a provision that deals with employee misconduct and that provision should be followed to the letter.  

If that means Hunt’s contract is summarily terminated then so be it.  To me, that has to be the right decision for the good of the club and its fans. 

Am I a disengaged fan of the Queensland Reds? You bet I am … but I am still a fan

Yesterday I received a Direct Message on twitter from the Queensland Red’s twitter account that read as follows:

“Hi Steven, we’re concerned that you’re feeling disengaged as a fan and we’d like to know how we can improve the situation?

My reply (along with the original DM) is set out in the two photos below:


I concede that my answer did not really answer the question put to me. I set out what had led me to become disengaged without answering what would improve my level of engagement. The fact is that there is nothing that Queensland Reds could say to me that would be likely to reinvigorate my engagement levels given the breadth of my whinges.
Regardless though of my level of disengagement with the team, I will continue to:
  1. Go to Reds games.
  2. Celebrate Reds victories.
  3. Commiserate Reds losses.
  4. Where appropriate, criticise all that I believe to be wrong with the team.
That is, after all, what being a fan of a sporting team is all about isn’t it? Whether I am engaged or not I remain a fan.


A final point: if sending me the message above was a strategy to engage me by the Queensland Reds it represents a spectatular failure because as I post this blog, some 24 hours after my reply to the Red’s message I still do not have a reply. Spelling my name wrong was bad enough but attempting to engage me without actually engaging is just another brick in the wall of my disengagement.



Wallabies make 5 changes for Springboks encounter

Ewen McKenzie has made 5 changes to the Wallabies lineup to face the Springboks at Pattersons Stadium on Saturday.  The team is:

Slipper, Hanson, Kepu, Carter, Simmons, Fardy, Hooper (c), Palu, Phipps, Foley, Horne, Toomua, Kuridrani, Ashley- Cooper, Folau

Bench: Fainga’a, Cowan, Alexander, Horwill, Higginbotham, Hodgson, White, Beale

Two of the changes are injury enforced with Kuridrani coming in for McCabe and Hanson in for Charles.  The Kurtley Beale experiment at number 10 has come to an end with Bernard Foley replacing him and Nick Phipps comes in at halfback in place of Nic White.  Both Beale and White are on the bench.

There are no other changes to the forward pack, which frankly is a surprise given our poorly the forwards played against the All Blacks a fortnight ago.  On the bench Will Skelton has been left out with james Horwill replacing him.


Bledisloe 2: Australian team named

Ewen McKenzie has named an unchanged line up for the second Bledisloe Cup match to be played this weekend at Eden Park.

The team is:

Israel Folau, Pat McCabe, Adam Ashley-Cooper, Matt Toomua, Rob Horne, Kurtley Beale, Nic White, Wycliff Palu, Michael Hooper (c), Scott Fardy, Rob Simmons, Sam Carter, Sekope Kepu, Nathan Charles, James Slipper. Replacements: James Hanson, Pek Cowan, Ben Alexander, Will Skelton, Scott Higginbotham, Nick Phipps, Bernard Foley, Tevita Kuridrani.

The All Blacks are likely to name their line up tomorrow.

Rugby: Wallabies side named for 1st Bledisloe clash

Ewen McKenzie has named the following line up to take on the All Blacks this weekend:

1. James Slipper (vc – Queensland Reds)
2. Nathan Charles (Western Force)
3. Sekope Kepu (NSW Waratahs)
4. Sam Carter (ACT Brumbies)
5. Rob Simmons (Queensland Reds)
6. Scott Fardy (ACT Brumbies)
7. Michael Hooper (c – NSW Waratahs)
8. Wycliff Palu (NSW Waratahs)
9. Nic White (ACT Brumbies)
10. Kurtley Beale (NSW Waratahs)
11. Rob Horne (NSW Waratahs)
12. Matt Toomua (ACT Brumbies)
13. Adam Ashley-Cooper (vc – NSW Waratahs)
14. Pat McCabe (ACT Brumbies)
15. Israel Folau (NSW Waratahs)


James Hanson (Queensland Reds)
Pek Cowan (Western Force)
Ben Alexander (ACT Brumbies)
Will Skelton (NSW Waratahs)
Ben McCalman (Western Force)
Scott Higginbotham (Melbourne Rebels)
Nick Phipps (NSW Waratahs)
Bernard Foley (NSW Waratahs)
Tevita Kuridrani (ACT Brumbies)

*one player to be omitted

Beale in ahead of Foley is a strange selection for mine whilst the selection of McCabe and Horne on the wings is an obvious pointer to the intent with wish McKenzie hopes his troops will play the game and obviously strengthens the team defensively.