Hunt still spinning from Origin call-up
Playing in the Telstra Premiership brings with it not only a physical toll but an emotional one.
Whether it's the wins and losses, good form or bad, injuries or higher representative honours there are a wide range of emotions that all players go through during the course of a season but few have experienced quite such a roller-coaster in 2017 as Broncos half Ben Hunt.
Fresh off making his Origin debut for the Maroons in their 22-6 win in Game Three to wrap up the series, Hunt has stopped to reflect on a six-week period where he was dropped to the Intrust Super Cup, called in to the Queensland training camp prior to Game Two and subsequently selected to make his Origin debut in Game Three.
With his big money move to the Dragons next year announced prior to the start of the season, there was already pressure on Hunt to perform in his last year in Brisbane but in his column in Big League this week he says nothing could have prepared him to the highs and lows of the past two months.
"I think my journey over the past six weeks is the perfect example of the roller-coaster of emotions professional rugby league players experience," Hunt says in the Women In League Round special edition of Big League.
"I've gone from playing reserve grade to playing in an Origin decider at Suncorp Stadium. I've experienced some of the biggest lows of football and some of the biggest highs of football in a short period of time.
"A lot of players are still trying to learn how to cope with enjoying the highs when they come and learning how to deal with the lows when they happen as well."
Hunt has spoken previously at his shock at being sent back to the Intrust Super Cup by Broncos coach Wayne Bennett to play for the Ipswich Jets but admitted that he was equally as shocked to be called into the Queensland team.
The exposure of the NRL means that the highs and lows are magnified to a point far beyond the truth but in the days following his first appearance for Ipswich Hunt was invited into the inner sanctum of the Queensland Origin team.
"I'm happy to admit I found it very hard to take being dropped from the Broncos back to Ipswich. Originally I had to deal with the shock of it because I didn't see it coming," Hunt says.
"State of Origin was the farthest thing from my mind at that stage. During that week I didn't give Origin one thought. All I wanted to do was to try and play some good football for Ipswich and work on getting back into the Broncos side."
As for his ultimate selection in Game Three, even the name 'Kevin Walters' coming up on his mobile phone didn't allow Hunt to believe immediately that his boyhood dream was about to be realised.
"When I saw the phone ring I did get excited, but in the back of my mind I was thinking, He wouldn't be calling for that," says Hunt.
"When Kevvie did tell me I started shaking. I couldn't really talk, it was a massive shock.
"You see all the stuff on television and the reports in the paper with your name being thrown around, but to be honest I thought they were going to go with Daly Cherry-Evans and leave Michael Morgan on the bench.
"The call from Kevvie came on the Sunday night and I had a whirlwind of emotions going through my body because I wasn't expecting it."
The Women in League issue of Big League highlights the adversity female players have had to overcome in order to play rugby league, previews Sunday's Interstate Challenge, profiles the longevity of Luke Lewis ahead of his 300th game and looks at the top eight late-season surges of all time. On sale now at newsagents, supermarkets, at the ground and via www.magsonline.com.au/big-league.