Broncos halfback Ben Hunt has opened up about his decision to leave Brisbane at the end of the 2017 season, describing it as one of the most agonising decisions of his life.
In his exclusive column in Big League this week, Hunt talks about the process he went through before deciding to join St George Illawarra on a lucrative five-year deal and coach Wayne Bennett's response when he informed him of his decision.
The master coach reaffirmed his commitment to his No.7 at the Broncos' season launch last Friday and Hunt said Bennett's willingness to stick by him this year were the soothing words he needed to hear.
"I had a good conversation with Wayne after I signed with the Dragons and he said he was committed to me as the Broncos halfback this year. That was what I wanted to hear from him," Hunt writes in Big League.
"I talked to a couple of my closer team-mates before I made my decision. They were guys I’ve known for a long time and the biggest message I got from them was they were happy to support me no matter what. They understood my decision and that made it a lot easier to tell the rest of the team.
"Everyone was really accepting, they understand what rugby league is like now and that you have to make these decisions."
The driving force behind Hunt's decision to walk away from the club with whom he first joined as a 12-year-old was the youngest person in his life, son Brady, and his partner Bridget Hagan.
Brady was born on October 7 last year and the 26-year-old said looking after his family has now become his primary concern.
"I didn’t really want to leave Brisbane, because that’s where I’ve spent a lot of my life, but it was the best decision for my family and I knew it was something I had to do," said Hunt.
"I became a father for the first time recently and it changes your perspective on everything. The past 10 years I’ve spent in senior football, it’s all been worrying about myself, but worrying about a small family is different and it affects the decisions you make.
"I decided what was best for my partner and what was best for my little boy long-term was to go to the Dragons."
But if Broncos fans had any concerns that Hunt may already have one eye on the Red V, he reassured them that he is more determined than ever to deliver Brisbane a premiership before he departs.
"Every season you’re desperate to be a winner, but knowing it’s more than likely going to be my last year at the Broncos, going out with the ultimate victory is very important to me," he said ahead of the season opener against the Sharks on Thursday night.
"I desperately want to win a premiership here before I leave and I think we’re in a really good position heading into the season."
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