Hunt draws praise from McGregor after impressive performance
St George Illawarra coach Paul McGregor and five-eighth Gareth Widdop have praised the immediate impact recruit Ben Hunt has had on the team following the halfback's starring role against his former club in Thursday night's 34-12 victory over the Brisbane Broncos.
When he wasn't scoring and setting up tries, Hunt kicked well in general play and added plenty of direction to a team already enjoying a hefty advantage after winning the forward battle.
England Test pivot Widdop has paired with some journeyman playmakers in his time at the Dragons and welcomed the chance to focus on his own natural game.
"He's been good; the last few years I've had a few different halfbacks so to have Ben here, he's played many first-grade games, played Origin, played for Australia so he's well experienced, he's just going to add to this team," Widdop said after the match.
"My combination with him is only going to be better with time. It was a pleasing first start. The important thing is to back it up next week. He's a halfback who'll go to the game, he's not going to sit back and wait."
McGregor was pleased to have a genuine six and a genuine seven on either side of the ruck.
"Gareth … I'll embarrass him but he's got bottomless talent. He likes to play instinctive footy," McGregor said.
"When you wear the seven you've got to execute a game plan. They complement each other really well. That was just the start of something we can build over the year.
"You've got two competitive players on the football field, we've got some strike on both edges."
McGregor also took a diplomatic approach to what appeared to be a deeply underwhelming effort from his opposition.
"I think we got the Broncos at the right time tonight," he added.
"We spoke about it prior to [the game], the nine (Andrew McCullough) was coming off a knee reconstruction. [Matt] Lodge hasn't played a lot of footy for a few years, [Jack] Bird wasn't playing. It was a good opportunity. [Anthony] Milford's coming off half a trial and a shoulder reco. It was a nice way to start at home."