Controversial code hopper Karmichael Hunt has denied there is a drug culture at AFL club Gold Coast Suns.
But Hunt has reached out to Harley Bennell after the publication of photos which appear to show the Suns young gun using illicit drugs in a Launceston hotel room, in March 2013.
The Suns urged players to come forward about anything relating to drug use after a report claimed Hunt had named past and present Suns players as cocaine users in a report to police.
They were players with him at the Suns’ Mad Monday in late August and on a golf trip to the Sunshine Coast.
The Suns have not ruled out speaking to Hunt as part of their overhaul of drug testing and policies in light of the code hopper’s claims and Bennell’s pics.
Hunt’s wife Emma claimed an end-of-season cocaine binge that landed her husband in trouble with police was not the first, saying he had others “over a period of many years”.
But Hunt denied the Suns had a drug problem.
“I have been reading stories about a drug culture here and there – that’s not the truth,” Hunt told Channel Seven.
Hunt said he contacted former Gold Coast teammates to support Bennell after the photos emerged.
He hoped Bennell could follow his lead and learn from his mistakes.
“I am not shying away from it, I have made my mistakes, I have put my hand up and owned it,” said ex-Bronco Hunt, who ended his four-year AFL stint in 2014 to pursue his third code, rugby, with Queensland Reds.
“And Harley is going to have to do the same going forward.”
Hunt said his wife knew of his drug use and tried to make him stop.
Hunt’s wife Emma said she hoped last year’s end of year binge was his last.
“I was hoping that was the end of it, the end of a period of many years,” she said.
Hunt admitted being labelled a dobber had been even harder to deal with than facing cocaine-related charges.
The 28-year-old father of three said he had spoken to all of the ex-Suns teammates he named to the Queensland’s Crime and Corruption Commission (QCCC) since his statement to them was leaked a week ago.
Hunt insisted they were understanding and realised he had no choice.
Hunt was arrested on charges of supplying cocaine in February and a month later was fined $2500 by the Southport Magistrates Court and ordered to have drug counselling after pleading guilty to possessing cocaine in September and October last year.
He also copped a six-week ban from the Reds, was stripped of his vice-captaincy, fined $30,000 by the Super Rugby franchise and ordered to have drug counselling.