Karmichael Hunt has let down Michael Cheika and other rugby hierarchy who provided him a silver opportunity to keep alive his football career, according to Wallabies great Phil Waugh.
Waugh has expressed sympathy for the Queensland Reds back after he was stood down by Rugby Australia over his arrest and drug possession charge.
But the 79-test flanker believes it’s unlikely Hunt will ever play for the Wallabies again after coach Cheika gave him his debut last year, given it’s the second time in three years he’s faced drug-related charges.
“The sad thing is that Rugby Australia and Cheika and the Reds really stuck by Karmichael when they probably could have thrown him out the first time, although it happened before they actually took him on board,” Waugh told Fox Sports.
“They picked him in squads that perhaps people questioned whether he should have been in.
“He’s had opportunities that other players haven’t had. It’s just a wasted opportunity for such a talented athlete.
“There are so many other players who would just do anything to get this opportunity. And they watch instances like this and they go, ‘why would you throw it away?’
“This is just poor behaviour and a bad choice.”
Hunt was arrested in the early hours of Saturday morning, with police allegedly finding a white powder after searching the 31-year-old in a car park in Brisbane’s Fortitude Valley at about 12.40am.
He was charged with two counts of drug possession and is set to face Brisbane Magistrates Court on January 29.
Rugby Australia is waiting for more detail on the allegations but agreed it was in all parties’ best interests Hunt, who was fined A$2500 after pleading guilty to four counts of drug possession in 2015, be stood down from training and playing.
Waugh was concerned about Hunt’s life after sport.
“I actually really genuinely feel for the guy because his last 12 months in rugby has been superb,” Waugh said.
“It’s just a sad story because the light at the end of the tunnel’s hard to see, the second time around, particularly because he’s come so far in the game in such a short period of time.
“People are talking about the financial impact as of today, but you’ve got to look at what the financial impact is post-career.
“You already know how difficult it is for players to transition out of professional sport to life after sport, and certainly these allegations don’t help.”
Hunt, a former NRL and AFL player who joined the Reds at the end of 2014 shortly before his previous run-in with the law, has represented Australia in six tests, earning a two-year contract extension in November.