Hunt's struggle stretches beyond hamstring
He is facing a further month on the sidelines at least with a hamstring injury and Broncos half Ben Hunt has revealed that the real battle is not the physical rehabilitation but the mental anguish of being unable to contribute on the field.
The Broncos have recorded narrow come-from-behind wins over the Titans and Rabbitohs in the fortnight since Hunt suffered his injury and face another danger game on Thursday night against a Panthers team that is destined to click into gear sooner rather than later.
In his column for Big League this week Hunt says that while he will be at Suncorp Stadium to watch his teammates attempt to secure another two competition points that to him it is a more torturous experience than the work he is having to do in the gym at Broncos HQ at Red Hill.
"Injured players generally don't travel to away games," Hunt says in Big League.
"I watched our game against the Rabbitohs at home last week with Jordan Kahu and Jharal Yow Yeh.
"I really struggle to watch games when I'm injured. I get more nervous watching than actually playing in the game.
"Sitting on the sidelines really gets to me, especially when things start going wrong, because there's nothing you can do. I really don't enjoy it.
"For home games, injured players are asked to go around to some corporate boxes and meet the members. It's about helping the club out. After that I head down to the sheds and talk to the boys and try to help wherever I can."
Destined for St George Illawarra from next season, Hunt's injury has allowed Broncos coach Wayne Bennett to ponder how his halves will look in 2018 including the high-profile acquisition of Sharks utility Jack Bird.
Initially the diagnosis of Hunt's hamstring strain were that it would require only two or three weeks out of the game but the discovery of a large tear in the tendon meant that the Broncos' No.7 would instead be facing a longer and lonely stint away from the main group.
"Aside from a couple of bad ones when I was younger, I've been pretty lucky throughout my career," Hunt says.
"Since I've been at the Broncos I've had to get a pin in my finger and missed five weeks for that, plus the hamstring injury that's keeping me on the sideline at the moment.
"Injured players still go into training as they normally would, but when the boys go out to train on the field, I go to strength and conditioning or physio and do my stuff with the injured blokes.
"I've had a couple of younger guys with me in the rehab group, along with Benji Marshall. It's been good having Benji there because he's always up for a chat – it can get pretty lonely sometimes.
"After the video sessions are done, the group goes to training and you have to go to one side of the field by yourself.
"Even when you're in the gym, your program is different to everyone else and you feel a bit left out at times."
The Round 9 issue of Big League featuring stories on Nathan Peats, Coen Hess and the spirit within the Wests Tigers is on sale now at newsagents, supermarkets, at the ground and via www.magsonline.com.au/big-league.