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Hunt back at Broncos as Staggs sanctioned for misconduct

Broncos coach Kevin Walters has again made sweeping changes to an underperforming Brisbane line-up, recalling 34-year-old Karmichael Hunt in the halves for his first NRL game since 2009.

Hunt played for the Broncos from 2004-2009 mostly at fullback and featured in the club's last premiership win in 2006 while also playing 11 times for Australia and 10 times for Queensland.

Brisbane teammate Kotoni Staggs will not be able to play until round 16 after the NRL announced on Tuesday sanctions had been handed down and accepted by the centre after he "engaged in disreputable conduct at a public venue in April this year".

According to the NRL statement, Staggs - who is now medically fit to play after recovering from a torn ACL - must continue to complete education and personal rehabilitation programs over the next two weeks, to the satisfaction of the league before being approved to return to the competition.

Staggs has also been fined $20,000, of which a portion will be used to fund his rehabilitation and education programs.

Brisbane centre Kotoni Staggs.
Brisbane centre Kotoni Staggs. ©NRL Photos

Brisbane issued a statement to say Staggs had met with NRL CEO Andrew Abdo, and fully understood the importance of changing his behaviour.

"It’s really important for me to work hard at being a role model for all those kids who look up to me as an NRL player," he said.

"I understand that I have to set a better example and think about the consequences of my actions for myself, my family, my club and for the game of rugby league.

"I’ve made mistakes but I’m committed to making sure that my behaviour is something I can be proud of in the future."

Round 14 - Broncos name Hunt, AFB could return

Broncos CEO Dave Donaghy said the club was "committed to educating our players to help them understand the importance of their role and their place in the wider community".

On the field, Hunt's return gives the Broncos a much-needed boost after their heavy defeat to the Dragons last Thursday.

After departing the NRL for a switch to the AFL via one year in French rugby, Hunt spent four largely unsuccessful seasons with the Gold Coast Suns from 2011 to 2014 before a switch to Super Rugby, playing seven seasons with the Reds and Waratahs and playing six Tests for the Wallabies.

Hunt's return to rugby league this year with Souths Logan has included six starts at centre and one game last week at halfback, with three tries and four try assists in his seven games.

Halfback Tyson Gamble has been dropped to accommodate Hunt at five-eighth with Albert Kelly switching to the No.7 role in yet another halves change for Brisbane.

Fullback Jamayne Isaako has paid the price for last week's shocker, with Herbie Farnworth replacing him at fullback and Dale Copley returning at centre.

Returning Maroons winger Xavier Coates displaces David Mead on the wing with last week's debutant Selwyn Cobbo retained.

Payne Haas has also been named to back up from Blues duty, with Tom Flegler shifting to lock, John Asiata to the bench and Ethan Bullemor out.