Meet the new, improved Karmichael

Written By Unknown on Sabtu, 22 Desember 2012 | 14.43

Gold Coast Suns player Karmichael Hunt is the slimmest he's been in three AFL pre-seasons. Picture: Brendan Radke Source: Gold Coast Bulletin

SPECIAL K has become Shrinking K.

Gold Coast Suns midfielder and code-hopper Karmichael Hunt is the lightest he has ever been in his well-travelled professional football career, with the 26-year-old tipping the scales at 87kg this week.

When he played rugby league for the Brisbane Broncos, Queensland and Australia he was 93kg.During his stint in French rugby Biarritz in 2009/2010, he nudged the 100kg mark.

But the trademark treetrunk legs are now gone, with Hunt halfway through his third AFL pre-season training program.

A leaner Hunt no longer looks like a rugby league player built to withstand multiple front-on high-speed collisions.

He appears every bit like an AFL on-baller who is required to cover vast distances over four quarters.

Gold Coast strength and conditioning coach Chris Gaviglio said Hunt's significant body shape transformation was a result of his single-minded determination.

"Karmichael needed to make those changes to survive and succeed in the AFL," Gaviglio said.

"He is a highly-driven athlete and he has been prepared to do what it takes to meet the demands of the sport. That is what has underpinned his success across all three codes.

"He is an inherently gifted athlete and he has really bought into our strength and conditioning program as well as working closely with our dietician Benita Lalor.

"You could tell he was cooked by the end of his first season but he would have run out last season if not for a shoulder injury. His legs were willing and able to go the full distance."

After an understandably indifferent first season in 2011, Hunt had a break-out year in 2012 with a shift from defence to the midfield.

The high point was his match-winning goal after the siren against Richmond in Cairns to hand the Suns their first victory of the season, but his on-ball work throughout the year also caught the eye.

He also produced a number of bone-rattling bumps on opponents to become a genuine enforcer.Gaviglio said Hunt would still pack a punch in 2013 despite shedding the weight.

"He is stronger than ever. He is bench pressing 145kg, which is more than what he was doing at the Broncos," he said.

Gold Coast football manager Marcus Ashcroft said Hunt's leaner appearance was inevitable.

"Karmichael has been training well and is in great shape at the moment but you can't not lose weight given the amount of running he has had to do," the triple premiership player said

"Especially in his new role in the midfield, he has covered a lot of kilometres.

"He has had a season in the VFL and two seasons in the AFL so it was only a matter of time before his body shape became more suited to the demands of our game."

The Suns had their last pre-Christmas training session yesterday  and will resume on January 7.

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