Australia's Hunt set for Broncos return 12 years on - report

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MELBOURNE (Reuters) - Karmichael Hunt's storied football career could be set for another chapter with the Australian dual code international expected to return to the Brisbane Broncos 12 years after leaving the National Rugby League side.

Hunt, 34, will join the struggling Broncos on a train-and- trial contract next week, having impressed for feeder club Souths Logan in the Queensland state league, the Nine Network reported on Thursday.

Hunt started his professional sporting career with the Broncos in 2004, winning the NRL championship in 2006 before departing the club after the 2009 season.

The Kevin Walters-coached Broncos have lost four of their five games this season, and Hunt could offer another halves option with big-money playmaker Anthony Milford struggling for form.

Hunt's manager David Riolo told Nine Network-owned newspaper Sydney Morning Herald that his player was in talks with the Broncos but no deal had been signed.

Hunt was capped 11 times for Australia's national 'Kangaroos' rugby league side from 2006-08 but has not played the game at an elite level since leaving the Broncos.

He left the New South Wales Waratahs at the end of the 2020 season after the Super Rugby side declined to extend his contract.

"I’d love to play professionally but I’ve been out of the game for 11 years," Hunt told Brisbane's Courier Mail newspaper recently.

"Maybe it’s a young man’s game now, who knows? I’m just going to play and see how we go."

A return to the NRL would add another twist to the captivating career of one of Australia's most versatile and enigmatic athletes.

After exiting the Broncos in 2009, Hunt switched to rugby union in a short-term deal with French side Biarritz before returning to Queensland to play Australian Rules football for the Gold Coast Suns in the professional AFL competition from 2011-14.

He switched back to rugby union to play for Super Rugby side Queensland Reds and earned six caps with the Wallabies in 2017 as a centre under former coach Michael Cheika.

A second cocaine-related scandal in three years at Queensland saw him frozen out by Reds coach Brad Thorn in 2018 but he resumed his career in Sydney the following year after the Waratahs threw him a lifeline.

(Reporting by Ian Ransom; Editing by Peter Rutherford)