Karmichael Hunt says proving himself at the Queensland Reds is his primary goal before he can think about trying to make next year’s rugby World Cup.
Code hopper Karmichael Hunt says securing a Wallabies jersey hasn’t yet made his goals list as he ventures back into rugby union.
The ex-rugby league star announced last week he was heading to the Queensland Reds in Super Rugby after four years with AFL club Gold Coast.
Fellow code jumper Israel Folau has proved to be a massive hit since leaving his own AFL deal to join the NSW Waratahs, winning this year’s Super Rugby title and quickly establishing himself as one of the Wallabies’ main backline weapons.
But Hunt says he needs to reacquaint himself with rugby union after only a short taste of the professional game in France in 2009 before his AFL adventure.
The 27-year-old says only once he has shown he is capable can he begin to dream of pulling on an Australian jumper at next year’s World Cup.
“Not now, it’s definitely not my aim,” Hunt told Triple M radio’s Grill Team in Brisbane about his international ambitions.
“My main priority is to get integrated, brush up on my skills. It’s five years since I played rugby.
“My priority is making the Reds team first and foremost, and making them a successful team again.”
Hunt said he wouldn’t compete in the current National Rugby Competition, as he recovers from the string of injuries that ended his AFL career.
He believes despite only playing 10 matches for the Suns for the past two years, his physical state won’t be a problem for the Reds.
“I feel comfortable with my body situation,” he said.
“Obviously I had my share of injuries this yea,r but nothing’s been major,” he said. “No surgery required.
“If anything, I’ve just needed to get some rest, get fit again and find a game which suits my body a bit better.”
The ex-Queensland and Australia rugby league representative has also revealed he only “sparingly” keeps in touch with his former teammates at the Broncos and that a vast cultural difference exists among players in the NRL and AFL.
“The demands of AFL footy mean you need to be in peak condition,” he said.
“For most of the year you need to be able to knock out 12 or 13km on the weekend.
“In terms of the culture of going out and enjoying yourself after every game, that does not happen whereas in rugby league, because the physical demands are a lot lighter compared to AFL, you could find boys out enjoying themselves.
“I certainly did when I was younger because I knew that the next week it would not affect me.”