Ben Hunt: Ready to write the next chapter

In his Big League column, Dragons recruit Ben Hunt discusses his team team and what has been one of the busiest periods in his career so far.

Moving to a new club has been an exciting process. I’d been at the Broncos my whole career and there was a stage I thought I would never leave the club, but the opportunity to move to the Dragons presented itself and it became impossible to pass up. My wife and I were excited for a change and living in a different part of Australia has put a spring in my step again.

While the experience has been enjoyable, it’s also been one of the most hectic periods of my life. The World Cup, getting married, having the honeymoon and moving south took me right up to pre-season. There wasn’t much time to put my feet up, but that was a good thing because before I knew it training had arrived and I had the opportunity to meet my new teammates.

I’ve settled in really well at the Dragons. It was like the first day of school when I started, everyone was really welcoming and made a point to come up and introduce themselves which I really appreciated. Living in Yowie Bay in the Shire has given me the opportunity to carpool with a few of my team-mates on the ‘Dragons Bus’ and to say that’s been an enjoyable experience would be a massive understatement.

Jason Nightingale was the man behind the concept and it’s really taken off – Tonya the Bus even has a social media following now. There are 11 of us on the bus and we make a lot of fun out of it, especially with some old characters like James Graham and Jeremy Latimore being the chief jokers.

It’s only been brief, but I’ve really enjoyed my time under Paul McGregor. He’s always pulling me up for a chat about footy, the way I like to play and the way he’d like me to play, which is good because I enjoy having direction from my coach. We played two trials and I admit I was a little stand-offish in the first game, but I think I improved in the second one and ‘Mary’ agreed.

I’ve enjoyed crafting a partnership with Gareth Widdop too. He’s a fantastic football player. Even though we’ve been training together all pre-season it’s still going to take time for us to build that partnership, but I do think it’s heading in the right direction.

Like me, James Graham is new at the club and is someone I’ve really gotten along with. He’s one of those players you really want to play for, he works so hard and does all the little things really well. On top of that he’s a really genuine, nice guy who would do anything for anyone. He’s going to be exceptional for this club.

Cameron McInnes another player I’m really excited about playing alongside. I played with Andrew McCullough for a long time and he’s a great player and Cameron is in the same mould. It’s helpful for a halfback to come to a team that has a really good hooker and we do in Cameron. 

And another thing

I’m really excited for Thursday. I had a feeling before the draw came out that we would be playing the Broncos pretty early in the year. I’ve been talking to a few of the boys back in Brisbane and they’re excited to give me a bit of flack. The opportunity to play against life-long friends and team-mates is going to be enjoyable.

I know there will be plenty of Broncos players giving me stick and I’m sure Andrew McCullough, Matt Gillett and Josh McGuire will be leading the charge. I played under-20s with those three and have known them a long time. I know they’ll get stuck into me.

There are a couple of blokes in that side I’d like to square up, but I don’t know if I’ll be going out of my way to do it because I’ll probably cop it back two fold. But I’ll be giving a couple of niggles to a few blokes here and there, I can say that.

Josh McGuire and Matt Gillett love flying out and giving it to little halfbacks, so I’ll be keeping an eye out for both of them and trying to avoid them as much as possible.

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