St George Illawarra Dragons halfback Ben Hunt said the lessons learned playing alongside Anthony Milford at the Brisbane Broncos has carried over into his new partnership with Gareth Widdop.
Hunt and Widdop have played starring roles as the Dragons have surged to the top of the ladder with an unbeaten opening month of the Telstra Premiership season.
The big-money signing and Queensland Maroons hopeful said Widdop's calm demeanour had helped the pair strike up a winning partnership.
"Off the field he's a quietly-spoken guy, but he's the sort of person who, when he speaks, you listen," Hunt told this week’s Big League magazine.
"It usually takes a while for a new halves pairing to get used to each other, and while there are a few things we need to work on, the first four games have been largely positive.
"The only way you can get that familiarity is by spending plenty of time working on it at training. You saw in that first game against the Broncos that Gareth almost scored off a kick I put in. I knew he'd be in that space and he knew I'd put the kick in."
Hunt said trading his scrumbase partnership with Milford for one with Hunt had taught him a thing or two about each player.
"I had the privilege of playing with Anthony Milford at the Broncos for a few years, and while it's too early to properly compare those guys, there are definitely some similarities and differences," he said.
"Both like to exploit overlaps if they notice an advantage out wide, and the good thing is they aren't afraid to call for the ball. My job as the halfback is to organise the sets and think a few plays ahead, but if they override me and think something is on, I trust them to execute it.
"Milf tends to be a more spontaneous in attack and it's up to the rest of the team to react, but Gaz can control the game like a second halfback on the field. They're both great players in their own right and I’m excited to see where our on-field bond goes over the next few years."
Like all good halfbacks do, Hunt said the form of his forwards was key to the Dragons' winning ways.
"Paul Vaughan and James Graham have set the standard up front, but the unsung hero of the team has to be Leeson Ah Mau.
"It's very rare that you've got a football side that's got a prop like him who comes off the bench and has such a big impact. We take our starting front-rowers off and he comes on at the same level. It's definitely a good feeling having that as a halfback."
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