Brisbane Broncos halfback Ben Hunt has revealed how coach Wayne Bennett responds in a crisis and he says it is far different from how many outsiders would expect him to react.
Writing in this week's issue of Big League and ahead of a showdown with Cooper Cronk and the Melbourne Storm on Friday night, Hunt addresses the issues that have seen the Broncos lose four of their past five games and fall to sixth position on the ladder.
In conceding 30 points or more against the Sharks, Warriors and Bulldogs in recent weeks Hunt acknowledges that the defensive resolve that was a cornerstone of the Broncos' season last year has dissipated and that they need to rediscover it quickly.
Although Bennett's overall demeanour may not have changed as a result of the losses, Hunt said he and the rest of the playing group are in no doubt when the master coach is displeased.
"One question I'm constantly asked is 'What is Wayne Bennett like during a losing streak?' and people are always surprised with my answer: 'He's stern, but fair'," Hunt says in the Round 17 issue of Big League.
"Our current struggles are the perfect example. Wayne doesn't come across and blast his players or rip into them, but you know when he's cranky. He doesn't have to say much to let you know he's a bit upset.
"The messages that come from Wayne are constructive and positive. He always tries to get us going in the right direction.
"Whether you're on a winning streak or losing streak his demeanour never really changes. He expects the same out of us every week and approaches every week the same."
As the Broncos have struggled much of the spotlight for the team's woes have fallen onto Hunt and halves partner Anthony Milford.
The pair were the catalyst for Brisbane's brilliant 2015 season and Hunt says he is relishing the opportunity to go up against Cronk and drag his team out of their current doldrums.
"To beat the Storm we will have to mitigate their forward pack," Hunt says.
"They have a couple of big boys who are quality players and get them going forward. They can roll through defences and give Cameron Smith and Cooper Cronk opportunities to play the type of football they want.
"If we can slow down their forwards it will limit the opportunities of those two.
"For me, the matchup against Cooper is a really big one and I'm looking forward to it.
"I always enjoy playing against great halves and Cooper has been in exceptional form this year – in terms of playing structured football and organising his team, there's no one better."
The Round 17 issue of Big League is on sale now at newsagents and at the ground. The digital version is also available through www.zinio.com, the iTunes Store and Google Play.