Looming Brisbane exit starting to hit Hunt

Brisbane Broncos utility Ben Hunt admits his impending departure from the club has finally started to hit him as finals football fast approaches.

The 27-year-old will leave Red Hill at season's end after agreeing to join the St George Illawarra Dragons on a five-year deal estimated to be worth more than $1 million a season.

It will be the first time Hunt has played for another NRL club after starting his rise to first grade with Brisbane in 2008, winning the inaugural National Youth Competition Player of the Year award in that same year.

Hunt then went on to make his first-grade debut at the Broncos in 2009 and has now played almost 200 NRL matches for the club.

Three Australian Test caps and one game for the Queensland Maroons add to his achievements while at the Broncos, and if his performance on Saturday night is anything to go by Hunt is a real chance for further representative honours in the future.

Hunt was outstanding in Brisbane's 54-0 win over the Gold Coast Titans on Saturday, shifting to hooker in the absence of Andrew McCullough who is out for the season with a knee injury.

‌McCullough and Hunt have played together since their days in the NYC and for Hunt it was McCullough's injury that put everything in perspective.

"It's starting to feel a bit real. 'Macca' got injured and it sunk in a bit that that's the last game I'll play with him here," Hunt said.

"It just made everything sort of come at me real quick. I realise now it's going to be over real soon.

"I just want to leave everything I have on the field and do my best for this team while I still can."

The Titans saw just how good Hunt's best can be, with the Broncos livewire scoring three tries and setting up two others as he and his team ran riot.

 


The performance has sent a warning to the rest of the competition and Hunt is now dreaming of a premiership farewell, but he knows there is still a lot of work to do.

"We have a lot to work on but we have a great team here. If we can put it all together and play the brand of footy I know we can then I know we'll give [the competition] a good shake-up," he said.

A lot of that will depend on Hunt's form in the dummy-half role, but for now he is confident he can do the job coach Wayne Bennett wants from him.

"Getting your hands on the ball first is always pretty good. You have control of where the ball goes and who should be getting it so a lot sort of rests on your shoulders in that regard. You just have to make sure you go to the right people," Hunt said of his new responsibilities at hooker.

"I want to go out and chance my arm when I can. That way I can try and contribute as much as I can in attack because I know I'm not Andrew McCullough in defence."

Next up for the Broncos is a Friday night blockbuster against the fourth-placed Cronulla Sharks at Suncorp Stadium.