Stat Attack: How Ben Hunt dominated Kodi Nikorima
The Brisbane Broncos can't be accused of looking a gift horse in the mouth when it comes to Ben Hunt, who did them by the length of the straight in St George Illawarra's 34-12 romp on Thursday night.
There was plenty of money more in the Red V's offer that lured the Broncos junior south for 2018 and beyond, and Brisbane immediately missed Hunt's value on the field in the season opener.
As Wayne Bennett rightly pointed out, his successor Kodi Nikorima was playing behind a badly beaten pack, and by fulltime only had 40 per cent of possession to draw on.
Besides the scoreboard, the most telling gap between the two sides was told by the two No.7s, and in turn the men outside them.
With Hunt taking on the bulk of the Dragons kicking game and touching the ball almost twice as much as Nikorima, five-eighth Gareth Widdop had himself some fun.
In he five tries to two thumping, the St George Illawarra skipper finished with two try assists and three more line-break assists, and would have had a four-pointer himself had he stayed onside pursuing a sublime chip kick from his halfback.
In direct contrast, Nikorima could do little at the scrumbase, with star pivot Anthony Milford rendered similarly ineffective.
The off-season concern with Bennett's first-choice halves has been their similarities in play would leave the side lacking direction.
And while 80 minutes behind struggling big men does not a season make, their missing ingredient was right there at Kogarah, directing all manner of trouble straight at them.