AFL Queensland Chief Executive Officer Michael Conlan has paid tribute to Karmichael Hunt, who today announced his departure from the Gold Coast SUNS.
“Karmichael has been a fantastic ambassador for grassroots football here in Queensland,” said Conlan.
“He’s one of the best athletes in Australia and he captured the imagination of sports fans across the state when he decided to challenge himself by taking on Australian Rules football.
‘He’s incredibly popular with our young fans and he’s played an enormous role in promoting our game, particularly in North Queensland. Whenever we go to schools or if you ask a young Auskicker in Cairns, Townsville or Mackay who their favourite AFL player is, Karmichael Hunt is often top of mind.”
Conlan said that Hunt’s contribution to the game included one of Queensland’s most memorable AFL moments.
“To see him kick the winning goal against Richmond in Cairns in 2012 was just a dream come true for the football public and the Gold Coast SUNS,” he said.
Hunt will also be remembered for the work he did away from Metricon Stadium, as an AFL Multicultural Ambassador.
“Karmichael has been an inspiration both on and off the field, and while we are sad to see him go we want to thank him for his great work and the way in which he has gone about it.
“We wish him nothing but the very best for the future, no matter what he chooses to do.”
AFL Chief Executive Officer Gillon McLachlan echoed Conlan’s sentiments.
“Karmichael has fulfilled an important role for the Suns both on and off the field, and from an AFL perspective he has delivered above and beyond our expectations for the promotional impact he has had in the northern states. Participation in Australian Football in Queensland has jumped from around 18,000 when Karmichael signed up to play in 2009 to nearly 30,000 in 2014,” said McLachlan.
“The entire AFL community joins me in thanking Karmichael for his contribution to Australia’s Game and in wishing he and his family all the best for the future.”