Brisbane Broncos prop Josh McGuire has praised teammate Ben Hunt's mental toughness ahead of the Broncos' Thursday night clash with the St George Illawarra Dragons at Suncorp Stadium.
Hunt famously fumbled a crucial ball in the 2015 NRL grand final and since that moment critics have come out of the woodwork, quick to scrutinise any mistake the 26-year-old makes.
Hunt may have had a slow start to the season by his high standards, but it's not as bad as punters are suggesting.
He is equal third in try assists with four for the season and leads the NRL in kick metres by a long way, amassing almost 2000 in five games.
McGuire says Hunt is not phased by the past, insisting his teammate is a key reason as to why Brisbane are top of the NRL ladder after five rounds of football.
"I've played representative football with Ben Hunt since I was 15 and he was the same bloke then. He's the ultimate competitor. He's super driven and a pure football player, I love playing with him," McGuire said.
"Obviously last year's grand final loss was hard on him, but I think he's handled it really well.
"I don't think he's playing as badly as people think he is. He's getting a lot of try assists and he's a freak of a talent. He may not have started as well as he did last year, but I don't think that form is far away.
"We're winning football games and you don't win football games unless your halves are playing good footy. I can't complain at all about the way Hunt and Anthony Milford are going. They complement each other really well and I wouldn't want to play with another halfback. I love him."
Milford at times has overshadowed Hunt, with the 21-year-old's career-best form making headlines almost every week of the season thus far.
McGuire says that although Milford may bring the X-factor, Hunt brings structure and composure to the Broncos when the game is on the line.
"Ben's really structured and a great talker. He motivates the whole team and manages all of us when he's out there," he said.
"He's still learning to put games away and that's something we all are learning.
"He's the man that wants the ball in his hands when the games on the line.
"When you're a front-rower you want to see your halfback busy and he definitely does that. He never lets me down in the defence so I think he's the complete package."