29 Jul 2009

Rugby league star becomes first to switch to AFL

6:42 pm on 29 July 2009

Brisbane rugby league star Karmichael Hunt is switching to play AFL in a move which will rock the NRL to its foundations.

In an unprecedented cross-code switch, the Auckland born Hunt's signed a three year deal with the new Gold Coast AFL franchise, which joins the competition in 2011.

He'll play out the remainder of the NRL season with the Broncos having turned down a $1.5 million three year extension.

Hunt, who's played eleven tests for Australia, played AFL as a teenager and the move will intensify the fierce turf war between the two codes.

Manly coach Des Hasler says the AFL's signing of Hunt should serve as a serious warning to rugby league.

He says the switch codes could open the doors to more players joining the AFL if the Queensland State of Origin star's move is a success.

With the AFL planning to launch a new team into the traditional rugby league heartland of Sydney's western suburbs, Hasler believes this will intensify the battle between the two codes.