Karmichael Hunt

‘K’ is no stranger to Australian audiences, having played at the top level across three sports. Rugby League, AFL and now Union.

Hunt had an established career in rugby league. He became the youngest ever Brisbane Bronco, debuting at the tender age of 17. But he didn’t just debut he went on to win Rookie of the Year as a fullback in 2004.

He reached the pinnacle of the sport by playing for Queensland in the State of Origin, winning a Premiership in 2006, and also played for Australia. All of this before he turned 20. Hunt went on to become the youngest player to play 100 first grade games in the competition’s history.

After a few years in AFL, Hunt signed for the Queensland Rugby Union and after an injury-plagued 2015/2016, he was dominant in his performances at 15 this year in Super Rugby.

Hunt played inside-centre in the June tests and was a standout.

He reads the game well, has a fantastic boot, great pass either side and has some fearsome shoulders. Hunt has delivered some massive hits over the last few years so I will be looking out for this in November. He is a real leader in the team and when things aren’t going well, look for him to take charge and come into first receiver position to direct the attack.

He’ll be filling in for Folau at fullback on tour, though he will alternate with Beale at 12 in attack and defence.

Karmichael Hunt earlier this season. www.davidmolloyphotography.com, via Wikimedia Commons
Karmichael Hunt earlier this season.
www.davidmolloyphotography.com, via Wikimedia Commons

Reece Hodge

Hodge has been around the team for a year and has largely played a Mr Fix It role. Filling in for injuries as and when required. This will come as no surprise to anyone who saw his Super Rugby debut where he played 11, 15 and 10. In that very match, he scored two tries and kicked goals on his way to a 20 point haul.

While he can play anywhere outside 9, he has cemented himself as a winger for the moment. A fine finishing winger at that. He has helped himself to 3 tries in his last 3 games on the wing.

Hodge also possesses the biggest boot in the country and last week kicked 9/9 (from fly-half). He’s on fire now and his galloping runs will almost certainly see him score tries over the next few weeks.

Reece Hodge in full flight earlier this year. www.davidmolloyphotography.com, via Wikimedia Commons
Reece Hodge in full flight earlier this year.
www.davidmolloyphotography.com, via Wikimedia Commons

Marika Koroibete

Keep your eyes on Koroibete. In him, Australia at long last has a real weapon on the wing.

The Fijian born flier has blistering pace, strong defence and, most importantly, is a real finisher. A real finisher is something Australia hasn’t had in a long time. And like Karmichael Hunt, he’s another who has come across from rugby league – where he scored 46 tries in 76 games.

Koroibete has scored 4 tries in the last 4 games and as South Africa, Argentina and New Zealand will tell you he’s scoring every time he’s given a chance. He can hurt people in defence. A word of warning to the north, if you give this guy space, he will not be chased down. So impressive have his first matches been, he made the Rugby Championship Team of the Tournament for some people.

Marika Koroibete in his league days. www.dfat.gov.au, via Wikimedia Commons
Marika Koroibete in his league days.
www.dfat.gov.au, via Wikimedia Commons

Lukhan Tui

He had an absolute barnstorming game from the bench in Bledisloe 3. He managed to rack up 11 runs for his second-half minutes, with most of them being the definition of direct. A young powerful man who will relish the chance to have a crack this November. Tui plays with a youthful confidence unbridled by the lean decade that has preceded him.

He is handy in the lineout, has raw aggression in spades and with Brad Thorn and Michael Cheika as his mentors, this 21-year-old should become the aggressive bully other teams love to hate.

He’s sadly going to miss the Wales game with an injury. But there’s no doubt he’ll take to the bench against England and Scotland.

Jordan Uelese

With Steven Moore’s powers waning faster than expected over the last 6 months, Australia needed to find another hooker. After starring in the U20s World Cup and with less than 30 minutes of Super Rugby game time, up stepped Jordan Uelese and he hasn’t disappointed.

A strong ball runner, he throws his 122kg frame around and makes his presence felt on a field. Uelese is also known to pilfer when given the opportunity.

He is unlikely to see too much game time with Moore having his final outings. And there are obvious concerns in the scrum against the grown men of the north. However, given time he’ll develop the strength required and is expected to become a big part of this Australian team for the next two World Cups.

Author: Jason Phillips

7 COMMENTS

  1. Nice Article mate. I’ll confess with Beale back in the team the match up with England is making me a little more nervous than expected!

    One player I could not agree with you more on is Tui. The man’s lines in Bledisloe 3 were something I’d expect from a high level winger, not a Lock Forward. Physical at the breakdown, powerful carrier. Great impact player going forward, especially being so young!

    • Hey Conor,
      Thanks for your comment. The England game is definitely the highlight of the tour and as much as I love how Australia is travelling, a wise man would have his money on the team who’s won the last four in a row and is playing at home, though this Australian team is far stronger than what we’ve seen in those recent games and as you note, does include one Kurtley Beale.
      Tui had a great debut season at the reds, but no one expected that performance against the best team in the world, we can only hope he can provide that kind of impact in his future games!

      • “Tui had a great debut season at the reds, but no one expected that performance against the best team in the world, we can only hope he can provide that kind of impact in his future games!”

        I respectfully won’t join you in hoping that my friend. I like England winning! 😛 But yes. Good article. And its going to be a massive one!

  2. Great article, couldn’t agree with the 5 more and good to see a few Queenslander up there.

    I’d be interested to see where you think Hunt and Beale will slot in when Issy comes back next year, maybe Beale 12, Hunt 13, Issy 15?

    • Hey Damien, thanks for your comment.
      The production line in Queensland is starting to really bear some fruit!
      I bet you’re excited about the young guns performing under Thorn in the nrc this year!
      For me Beale and Foley don’t get broken up and we get the best of Folau at 15, so to get him in the team hunt could find himself at 13 (and wouldn’t the league minds work well together) but being new to the role, in such a defence orientated position and with kurindrani performing so well it’ll be hard for him to get a shot.
      I think 15 is his best position and definitely want him in the team, but I think it’ll be decided by injuries- if someone goes down, he’ll step up and hold the position. But until he can show he’s an outright better player, it’ll be the bench.
      Hunt is a personal favourite though, the aggression he brings is just a joy to watch. He’s definitely a better defender than a lot of the options in the team at the moment- but we’re not playing defense.

  3. Great insight Jason and a cracking article. I’m a passionate England fan but love our sport and try and watch as much super rugby as possible. I am a little fearful of Aussie front foot ball and particularly the power of the centre pairing today. Please keep the articles coming as it truly is a step up from the broadsheets here in the UK.

    • Hi Will, thanks for your comment.
      Congratulations on the win! Dominant result.
      I think everybody is hoping Kerevi will become our Nonu for the World Cup and he’s been a stand out at super level (13), but for me his distribution isn’t at the level of Beale and hunt and while he’s been there our outside backs have been quiet.
      Hope to have a new article out this week.
      Cheers

LEAVE A REPLY

Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here