Karmichael's colourful career
Karmichael Hunt's journey from rugby to AFL
Karmichael Hunt has called an end to his AFL career
KARMICHAEL Hunt's AFL career is over.
After five seasons with the Suns – including their VFL year - 27-year-old Hunt told his teammates on Thursday morning he would not be continuing at the club.
It is believed he is returning to rugby - union, however, not league - to link with the Queensland Reds.
The former rugby league international shocked the football world in 2009 when he announced his dramatic code switch to join the fledgling Suns.
He played 44 games, and alongside skipper Gary Ablett was the face of the code for the AFL's 17th club.
A string of injuries including a broken toe, staph infection and concussion has restricted him to just one senior game this season.
After a long deliberation, Hunt said it was a difficult decision.
"My family and I have been considering my next step as an athlete for some time," Hunt said.
"I will be forever grateful to the AFL and Gold Coast for giving me such an amazing opportunity.
"I've enjoyed every aspect of it and the game and the Suns will always be part of mine and my family's life.
"It has been an amazing challenge and an incredibly fulfilling one, and I wish the Suns all the very best in the future."
Gold Coast CEO Travis Auld said Hunt's contribution to establishing the Suns "will never be underestimated".
"[Karmichael is] one of Australian sport's most significant achievements; an athlete who has played at the elite level of three of popular sporting codes in rugby league, rugby union and AFL," Auld said.
"He has delivered far more the we could have ever hoped for when we signed him."
AFL CEO Gillon McLachlan praised Hunt’s contribution to the development of Australian football in the northern states.
"His progress in playing our game has helped inspire many children, particularly in Queensland and NSW, to play and watch Australian football," McLachlan said.
"Karmichael has fulfilled an important role for the Suns both on and off the field, and from an AFL perspective he has delivered above and beyond our expectations for the promotional impact he has had in the northern states.
"Significantly, Karmichael is the first sportsperson in Australia to have reached the elite professional level in three football codes, which is a remarkable achievement that is testament to his natural sporting ability and commitment."
Hunt will be best remembered for his after-the-siren game-winning goal against Richmond in Cairns in 2012.
He was revered for his work ethic and professionalism in helping to establish the Suns' culture.
Hunt is still in the mix for a farewell game against West Coast on Sunday, but said regardless of selection, he was looking forward to thanking the fans at Metricon Stadium.
Karmichael Hunt is mobbed by teammates after that goal against the Tigers in 2012. Photo: AFL Media.