In the countdown to the opening game of the 2016 Telstra Premiership season Broncos half Ben Hunt has revealed the torture he felt of having to watch a replay of Brisbane's grand final loss to the Cowboys and his unfortunate role in it.
A dropped ball from the kick-off of golden point extra-time made Hunt the face of Brisbane's painful finish to the season as Cowboys superstar Johnathan Thurston claimed the premiership for North Queensland with a field goal four tackles later.
In an exclusive column in the Round 1 issue of Big League this week, Hunt opens up about coach Wayne Bennett making the entire squad relive the grand final heartache so that they could begin plotting their course for 2016.
"It was one of the hardest times in my life and my footy career. I've always felt that I'm pretty good at getting over things, but it was hard being constantly reminded about it, especially when people kept coming up to me and asking, "Why did you drop the ball?" Hunt tells Big League.
"I'd gone out of my way not to watch the game — if it was on the television I'd change the channel — so I had mixed emotions when Wayne said we were watching it.
"I remember everyone looked at each other, asking 'Are we really doing this?'.
"But Wayne asked everyone to buy into it and credit must go to the team because they all jumped on board.
"I know I didn't want to do it, but after watching the game I appreciated it, because it allowed us to understand the little things we did wrong."
Broncos great Darren Lockyer has recently stated that the greatest challenge facing the Broncos in their search to go one better in 2016 will be the mental one but Hunt is confident that what they displayed last season they can exhibit again this year, starting on Thursday night against the Eels.
"I know a few people have questioned the Broncos' mentally, in terms of us having scars moving forward, but we can prove them wrong. I don't think it's just us that have the mental issues," Hunt says.
"It's a big mental challenge for every team to get to the grand final. It's a long season and one of the toughest competitions in the world. To make it to a grand final you've got to be mentally strong all season and that's what we had last year.
"We weren't the prettiest team at times, but we were always mentally strong and we worked really hard in defence.
"I know the team and everyone is willing to put in the effort required to get back to the grand final. It's an exciting time.
"I can't wait for the season to start."
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