New Dragon Hunt praises McGregor
St George Illawarra Dragons recruit Ben Hunt says his first impression of new coach Paul 'Mary' McGregor was all it took for the 27-year-old to leave Red Hill.
It must have been quite the introduction from McGregor, who managed to convince Hunt to depart the Brisbane Broncos and give up his chance to further his career under master coach Wayne Bennett.
Hunt has now officially joined the Dragons in preparation for the 2018 season after playing nine NRL seasons for the Broncos.
He will be at St George Illawarra until at least the end of the 2022 season with an option in his favour to extend his contract another year.
He may no longer be a Bronco, but Brisbane will always hold a special place in Hunt's heart, with the club signing Hunt as a teenager and handing him his NRL debut in 2009.
But Hunt is now looking towards his future and a new beginning for his young family on New South Wales' southern beaches.
Talking to Dragons TV, Hunt said he was eager to prove himself to McGregor and wear the famous Red V.
"My partner and I were keen for a change and to try something new. When I came down to meet 'Mary' I was very impressed with him and I'm excited to play under him," Hunt said.
"I've had a couple of meetings with 'Mary' now and he's been great. He's a great coach and he's already been good for me so I'm looking forward to training under him."
Hunt, who finished his Broncos career playing at hooker due to a season-ending injury to Andrew McCullough, will wear the No.7 for the Dragons – partnering English international Gareth Widdop in the halves.
Halfback is Hunt's preferred position and one where he plays his best brand of attacking football.
That was evident in 2015 when he finished equal-second in the Dally M Play of the Year voting after a great year at halfback saw him guide the Broncos to within one point of a grand final victory.
Both Hunt and his new club are hoping he rediscovers that form and leads the Dragons to their first finals appearance since 2015.
Fellow recruit James Graham should help him do that, with the former Canterbury Bulldog bolstering an already imposing St George Illawarra forward pack.
It is this forward pack led by the likes of Jack de Belin, Paul Vaughan and Tyson Frizell that has Hunt excited for his time at the Dragons.
"I'm expecting pretty big things from the Dragons in 2018. I think it's a quality side and hopefully myself and James Graham can add to that," he said.
"It's a very impressive roster so I'm looking forward to being a Dragon.
"As a halfback, having a really good forward pack excites me. I think that's one of the strengths the Dragons have.
"I just want to play my style of football and get back to playing the way I know I can."