‘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.
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.
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.
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.
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