Matthews has slammed the AFL and the Gold Coast Suns for the cross-code experiment.
AFL legend Leigh Matthews has slammed Gold Coast’s Karmichael Hunt experiment, calling it “ill-advised”.
The AFL today took the unusual step of releasing a video praising the outgoing Hunt, thanking him for his “extraordinary impact” on the game in the Gold Coast.
Hunt retired from the AFL after playing 44 games in four seasons and is expected to cross-codes again to play for the Queensland Reds in Super Rugby.
Speaking to 3AW Radio, Matthews said he hoped such an experiment would never happen again.
“I didn’t even know (Hunt) had been playing for the last five years,” he joked.
“Fair dinkum, the AFL and Gillon, if he went out of his way, it was only to justify the exorbitant money that ends what was an ill-advised, ill-fated experiment with the poaching of Israel Folau and Karmichael Hunt from other sports with financial offers just too good to refuse.
“I hope it never happens again, I don’t believe it should have happened five years ago and I just hope we’ve learnt our lesson.”
“Karmichael Hunt and Isreal Folau probably got about $10 million out of the football pool.
“You’ve had great players retire today, Luke Ball was mentioned and we know Lenny Hayes is playing his last game this week. I was against it at the time.”
Matthews conceded both Hunt and Folau gained their clubs publicity, but said the huge amounts of money paid to the players belittled the sport.
“To think we have to poach a player off another sport by offering $1 million a year, which is twice as much as they were going to get at their existing code, I just think we’re belittling our own sport,” he said.
“Yeah (they) got a little bit of publicity but very little in the last three years.”