Off the Wall

The Broncos and the Titans may have ended the 2009 season without making the grand final, but both clubs will surely be celebrating the news that not only is Karmichael Hunt going to the new Gold Coast AFL franchise, but that Brendan Fevola is now a real chance to join the Brisbane Lions in 2010!

The Broncos management and players have been complaining for some time about the media "attention" they receive for off field issues in a one team town.

Well there is every chance they will have someone, and maybe more than just someone, to share them with next season and beyond.

Despite all the PR about Hunt's departure, the truth is that the Broncos did comparatively little to keep him. When negotiations dragged out they promptly ended them - and showed no inclination to get anywhere near where he expected, and what he wanted.

The club may deny it, but the reality is that off field issues and reports did not encourage the club to try to keep him.

The Broncos no doubt believed that the club let its fans and sponsors down with some unsavoury issues towards the end of the 2008 season. Hunt was central to these - whether he likes it or not.

The Brisbane Lions AFL team have probably had as many off field issues, and maybe even more. But only a handful of the Lions players have any community profile...hence drunken behaviour by Lions players has not attracted the same media and public scrutiny as incidents involving Broncos players have.

But with Hunt going to the new Gold Coast AFL franchise, and the Lions reportedly seriously chasing Fevola - and it has to conclude any deal by tomorrow - that is all going to change.

Their every off field activity will be scrutinised. That won't let any Broncos, or Titans, who play up off the hook, but it will mean that scrutiny is going to be more fairly shared.

The AFL - and writers such as Patrick Smith - regularly pontificate that their off field problems are less than those in the NRL. The reality is that there is probably a struck match between the codes when it comes to the numbers of incidents that make the headlines.

But because the AFL has a lower profile in Sydney and Brisbane coverage of AFL player incidents is significantly less than what our players attract. But with Hunt and Fevola on the scene that may change!

The arrival of Fevola will probably be regarded by the Lions as an opportunity to boost membership and attendances. And just what the Gold Coast AFL franchise expects to get from Karmichael Hunt continues to escape me!

The Titans have a zero tolerance policy when it comes to off field behaviour and the Broncos are heading in the same direction. The same cannot be said for the Lions!

The more Brendan Fevola's (and Karmichael Hunt's) the AFL signs up for its Queensland teams the better!

The two SE Queensland teams ran out of luck (and perhaps form) towards the end of the season - but this week's news that Fevola may be joining the Lions could not be better news...for the Broncos and the Titans!

All we need now is for the two quality - and well behaved - players the Lions want to swap for Fevola agree to go to Carlton.

Fingers crossed!