The Brisbane Broncos say they have no plans to lure Karmichael Hunt home as prospective NRL rivals, the Brisbane Bombers, attempt to bring the AFL convert back to rugby league.
The Herald Sun can reveal Brisbane NRL bid delegate Bill Rae has sounded out Hunt’s management to gauge the possibility of Hunt quitting the Suns to represent the Bombers, should they win admission to the NRL in 2013.
But the Suns are prepared to up the ante, with football manager Marcus Ashcroft saying he wants Hunt to extend his tenure with the fledgling AFL club.
Off-contract at the end of next year, Hunt has impressed AFL judges with the speed of his transition, although the prevailing sentiment in rugby league circles was that he would return to the sport that made him a household name.
The NRL’s hopes of reclaiming Hunt are aided by the imminent broadcasting deal, which could result in the game’s marquee stars earning up to $1 million a season in 2013 under a beefed-up salary cap tipped to rise to $7 million.
Hunt has strong ties with the Broncos, playing 125 games for the club, but a return to Red Hill is remote.
“K (Hunt) will always be a Bronco and he has many friends here. But the fact is, Karmichael Hunt coming back to rugby league in the short term is a completely unrealistic outcome,” Broncos operations chief Andrew Gee said.
Earlier this year, the Central Coast bid team also named Hunt as a priority signing.
“Karmichael is a league player at heart and it would be great to get him back to the game. It would be great for the Bombers and the NRL,” Rae said.
“I’ve met David Riolo; obviously we can’t offer anything until if and when we get an NRL licence but he is aware of our thoughts.”