Karmichael Hunt still has the hunger to succeed
KARMICHAEL Hunt has eaten his way into the Wallabies backline by adding 7kg of hitting power since arriving in rugby as an undersized non-factor from AFL.
Blitzing pasta, chicken and protein shakes plus constant snacking hasn't even been the full extent of his recipe for success in Saturday's Test against Italy at Suncorp Stadium.
The three-code high achiever has transformed his body after belatedly realising he was inadequate physically to jostle with rugby's big boppers when joining the 15-man game in 2015.
"There was a time where I didn't feel equipped physically, didn't feel I had the power I once had," Hunt said.
"I've put on a decent amount of weight to be 96kg and it makes a big difference running through bigger bodies and moving them when tackling (or at ruck time)."
Running out at Suncorp Stadium today is another milestone in his football journey, a return to his home ground as a Wallaby 13 years after his Brisbane Broncos debut there at 17.
"It does add to a tremendous occasion ... it's where it all started," Hunt said.
Hunt wasn't exactly Mr Universe when he crossed codes from AFL but he needed to turn from greyhound to pit bull again with extra size and hip-power work in the gym.
Daughter Halo's fifth birthday last Sunday was some salve on the home front after the loss to Scotland the previous day and good reason for a cake attack.
"Like I said, I've got to keep eating so my salted caramel cake and custard came with a slice of Halo's ice cream cake as well," Hunt said with a laugh.
"I owe my wife Emma on the food front and (former All Blacks and Broncos hardman) Brad Thorn for the best advice.
"It was Thornie who got me regularly eating oats, nuts and shakes as soon as any training finished so I didn't allow myself to wither."
Hunt's start to his Wallabies career at inside centre has been promising with his natural style to take the ball at the defence, putting close supports into gaps and some heavy hits.
He is less adept with a long-passing game and admits his crash course at playing No.12 is continuing with mentors Bernard Foley and Quade Cooper.
"There is a lot to get used to and also understanding the landmarks on the field we try to get to from certain positions in attack," Hunt said.
At 30, Hunt is still hungry ... and hungry to learn.