General Langer likes halfback Hunt

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Langer likes halfback Hunt
by Scott Dickson
Tuesday February 07, 2006

FORMER champion halfback Allan Langer yesterday backed Wayne Bennett’s decision to trial Karmichael Hunt in the no.7 role, believing the teenage sensation could become the Ergon Energy Broncos’ chief halfback early this season.

The Test and Origin star and current Broncos coaching staff member said Hunt possessed the qualities of a dangerous playmaker, confident he was only a few halfback trials away from becoming a permanent option at the club’s scrumbase.

But Langer, the Broncos backs co-ordinator, said switching 19-year-old Hunt from his early career fullback position was just a club experiment and could easily amount to nothing.

Hunt has been practicing in the new role during the pre-season because last season’s no.7 Brett Seymour is recovering from a full shoulder reconstruction.

Seymour will miss all trial matches and possibly the first month of the NRL season.

Hunt will have his first chance to show his halfback worth in the club’s second pre-season trial against North Queensland this Saturday night in Rockhampton.

And Langer, who has undoubtedly offered him invaluable guidance, is expecting him to impress.

“He definitely has what it takes to be a very good halfback,†the Broncos and Queensland little general said of Hunt, who was a halves regular as a junior and is still extremely keen to assume playmaking duties.

“He’s strong, has good organizational and kicking skills and a great ability to run with the ball.

“He’s also very young, confident and the type of player that loves to get the ball in his hands, a necessity for every good halfback.

“He has learnt much about playmaking during his two-year NRL career at the Broncos.

“He has done a lot of attack organizing from fullback and has also gained plenty of playmaking advice from training in the halves alongside five-eighth Darren Lockyer.

“If he ends up as the Broncos number one halfback this season then I am sure he will not let anyone down. But we will have to wait and see how he goes in the trials.â€Â

One concern with Hunt playing at first receiver is his 186cm, 86kg size, which is larger than that of your typical sharp halfback.

But Langer refused to agree.

“Karmichael is very agile, quick and mobile, so his size will not cause his halfback ability any problems,†he said of Hunt, whose contains a deadly trademark step.

Langer said he expected Hunt to shortly threaten Seymour’s mantle as club’s first-choice halfback.

“He may not perform in the new role as good as we think he can, but I am sure with a few games under his belt he will definitely show promising signs,†he said.

“But whether he develops into the club’s first choice halfback early this season will depend on how quickly he develops in that role.

“That’s what we have got to wait and see.â€Â

Broncos Test centre Shaun Berrigan, who has played outside Langer and fellow star halfbacks Brett Kimmorley and Craig Gower, said Hunt had the potential to make a fist of it at halfback.

“We’ve only just started doing ball sessions with Karmichael at halfback,†Berrigan said.

“But having played with Karmichael in recent seasons I know his brilliant capabilities of playing as a playmaker.

“I’m sure if he was the Broncos halfback there would be no concerns because he is a wonderful playe and would handle the role.

“He has great organizational skills, and a good kicking and passing game.â€Â

The Broncos performed team defense work yesterday morning before undergoing a weights session later in the afternoon at Red Hill.

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