Broncos back Hunt to shine
Broncos back-rower Alex Glenn is adamant that teammate Ben Hunt is the right man to lead St George Illawarra out of their current doldrums, and that he will handle the pressure associated with becoming one of the game's highest paid players when he moves south of the border.
Hunt's move to the Dragons in 2018 was formalised on Monday, the first of what will be many high-profile signings throughout the NRL in 2017.
Hunt has agreed to terms on a five-year contract with the Dragons, a deal that will see him leave the club with whom he first signed as a 12-year-old and made his NRL debut in Round 15, 2009 at 19 years of age.
Glenn captained Hunt in the Brisbane team that lost the 2008 NYC grand final to the Raiders and is confident that the figures that have been reported won't distract Hunt from the job at hand this season and also next when he joins the Dragons.
"I think he'll be fine. The person he is, he doesn't let pressure get to him too much on and off the field," Glenn said on Monday.
"I know that all he has to do is get his job done and train hard which he does every day and I know it's going to be nothing different.
"Our job is playing a strong 2017 in the Broncos colours and it's not going to disrupt them. He's still training as hard as he can with us and I know he's not going to get distracted by anything off the field.
"I've been playing with 'Hunty' for eight or nine years now and he's a great leader on the field. He knows how to really attack teams so it's going to be hard if he was to leave us but any team is definitely going to benefit if he goes anywhere else.
"I've seen him develop from a young player to the player he is now and the confidence he's had in himself to run the ball a lot, it's definitely come into his game.
"He's definitely a great character on the field and a great leader and he's getting a lot smarter on that field as well."
Hooker Andrew McCullough was also a member of that 2008 Broncos under-20s team and says the movement of high-profile players is part and parcel of life at every NRL club, including the Broncos.
"That's the big picture that we play in now. Everything happens for a reason and whatever Ben's chosen is the right reason for his family," McCullough said.
"You go through each club and there's always someone leaving or someone coming. There are different aspects of the game now of pressure and performance.
"He's been around the club long enough, he's played in some big games so he knows how to handle the pressure.
"He's got less than 10 years left now and at a certain stage in your career you've got to realise that. He's done that now, we can move forward as a team and he'll put his best foot forward regardless of what the circumstance is."
The Broncos held their annual members' day at Suncorp Stadium on Saturday less than 24 hours after the Hunt news broke and while McCullough understands their disappointment at seeing someone such as Hunt leave, the reality of a player's longevity in the game must also be considered.
"As a member you probably feel that you're short-changed a little bit if someone leaves or you feel a bit disheartened, but the overall picture is that the bloke is only in there for so long and he's got to look after himself in a way, especially if he does have a family," said McCullough, referencing the son Hunt and partner Bridget Hagan welcomed into the world in October last year.
"It's a two-way street and it can be a bit heated there at times between people from the outside not realising how short of a lifespan football is."