Rapid recovery seals Hunt's Rabbitohs future
Rabbitohs centre Hymel Hunt had finally received his big break.
After playing four NRL games across three seasons at two different clubs, Hunt arrived at South Sydney this season intent on making inroads in first grade.
A striking pre-season from the 22-year-old was followed by a chance to impress in the trials, Hunt swaying Rabbitohs coach Michael Maguire into naming him for Round 1.
Hunt was arguably one of South Sydney's better players in the opening two months of the season.
That all changed just six minutes into the Rabbitohs' Round 8 clash in Brisbane.
With the game only six minutes old, Hunt tore his pectoral tendon off the bone – his season effectively ruled over.
Channel Nine cameras captured a devastated Hunt being consoled by teammate Cody Walker soon after.
The recovery period following pectoral surgery is typically 16 weeks. Hunt however – who jokingly suggested "Polynesians are fast healers" – was back two weeks ahead of schedule.
Hunt has featured in Souths' past two games, a due reward for his hard work in rehab, and repaid the club's faith with an 80-metre try against the Warriors last weekend.
"When you work your [backside] off all pre-season and have a few good games at the beginning of the season, all you want to do is keep playing," Hunt told NRL.com.
"When you're told that you have ruptured your pec and that you're out for the season, it was heartbreaking. Everyone has seen those scenes in the sheds, I was quite upset.
"I'm so blessed to be back and playing again. I have no trouble with my pec now and everything is back to 100 per cent."
Hunt made his NRL debut for the Titans back in 2013, and with a stint in Melbourne in between, he believes he has finally found himself a home at the Rabbitohs.
If there were any positives to come out of his long stint on the sideline, Hunt was able to reaffirm within that he wants to remain in the cardinal and myrtle jersey for years to come.
"Sometimes you have to go through some adversity before you find your feet and I think that's what happened to me. Obviously I had a string of games at the Storm but I think I've found my home here at South Sydney," he said.
"I love the club and I love the boys the most. I'm a family-oriented person and the boys to me are like family. When I run out on to the field, I want to work hard for them.
"That's what made the injury more difficult. I was on the rehab bike for 10 weeks straight. Watching the boys train became annoying to me. But they pushed me a long time to get back and it's been amazing feeling to play again."
The off-contract Hunt is confident a new deal to remain at Redfern will materialise in the coming weeks.
"We're sorting it out now but fingers crossed everything falls back into place and I can stay here for a few more years," he said.
"I love it here and I definitely can't see myself going anywhere else."