High school mates shoot for Tigers vacancy
When a 16-year-old Jordan Rankin made his debut for the Gold Coast Titans in 2008, his fellow Palm Beach Currumbin schoolmate Justin Hunt stood idly by.
It's something Hunt is not prepared to do this time around though with both men joining the Wests Tigers for the 2016 season, and as fate would have it, shooting for Pat Richards's vacant wing spot.
Whoever gets the nod from Tigers coach Jason Taylor will also replace Richards as the side's goal kicker, though Hunt told NRL.com there will be no ill-feelings between the pair once the Round 1 team is announced.
"He was a bit younger than me so we were whipper snappers when he made his debut. We're really good friends and we live right next to each other too now so it's a bit funny how it's turned out," Hunt, who has since played 21 NRL games, laughed.
"I remember being at this touch footy competition the day after he made his debut and there were cameras everywhere and I was like 'look at this little fella, thinking he's killing it' but he's done well and he's a good bloke.
"Competition is the best recipe for success. We're training hard together and we'll just see what happens. There's obviously a lot of competition here overall with the amount of young fellas at the club."
As well as an NRL berth, Hunt is simply chasing job security moving forward after only signing a one-year deal at the club.
Since 2008, Hunt has had two spells at the Eels and spent time playing for North Sydney, Mackay Cutters, Redcliffe Dolphins, the Rabbitohs and St George Illawarra – his biggest stint at any one of these clubs stretching for a mere two seasons.
Being also his second time at the Tigers – after playing Holden Cup in black and gold in 2008 – the 27-year-old journeyman admitted he was sick of moving but was grateful to make past sacrifices all in the name of living out his rugby league dream.
"I've travelled the world it felt like to chase the dream and I went through some tough periods at Parra. I had a couple of bad injuries and surgery in the off-season so it was a tough  but I was thankful to the Dragons for giving me a go last year," he said.
"I was pretty happy with my footy last season so hopefully I can just find a home and stay for as long as I can here – that's the plan anyway."
Proving a worthy asset for Dragons coach Paul McGregor last season, Hunt confessed his frustration of leaving the Red V due to salary cap pressures, but again was optimistic by what's to come.
"In my position when you're on the fringes, it's tough. But obviously you have to do what you have to do. You just have to be positive, that's how I look at life. I'm living my dream so I can't really complain," Hunt said.
"I pinch myself every day to still be doing what I love. It's the best job in the world and it took me a long while to get to where I have but I was never going to stop chasing my dream. I'm very proud of myself."