It is Ben, not Karmichael, Hunt who will be joining the St. George Illawarra Dragons for the 2018 Telstra NRL Premiership competition and his new coach, Paul McGregor, would like Hunt to adopt a different playing style compared to that which served him during his stint with the Brisbane Broncos.
Hunt will have the time to adapt, it seems. He will be playing on a six-year deal.
Dragons’ supporters will doubtless expect Hunt to singlehandedly return the club to the finals, but it is five rungs up the ladder for the Dragons, who finished 13th in 2017 and it might be a case of loft expectations raised well above gratitude.
Hunt will be partnered in the halves with Gareth Widdop.
According to Hunt, speaking of McGregor’s plans, Hunt said, “He wants me to be playing more first receiver and getting my hands on the ball a lot earlier. He feels, and I agree with him, that one of my strengths is running the ball.He wants me getting it straight from the dummy half, having runners inside and outside and really threatening the line,” Hunt told NRL 360.
That is a shift from what Hunt was doing in Brisbane. He was seldom on the ball, although, according to Hunt, “Not necessarily not allowed, it was just the style of football, I guess.We had some pretty good mobile forwards up there that like to play with the ball a bit and that was just how we fell into playing.Coming down here, one of the first things Mary said was that he wants me to get up on the ball, get to first receiver and get the forwards inside, outside me rather than playing off them all the time.”
Hunt has the talent to do what need to be done, no doubt. He managed to keep a spot with the Broncos from 2009 through the end of the 2017 season, making 187 appearances for the Brisbane club, scoring 230 points. He also has some Wallabies and Queensland caps.