Ben Hunt training during the PM’s XIII training session where he’ll likely be in a hooking role. Picture: AAP
Ben Hunt training during the PM’s XIII training session where he’ll likely be in a hooking role. Picture: AAP

Star Dragons halfback eyes hooker switch

HE arrived to solve St George Illawarra's halfback woes but Ben Hunt has given serious consideration to making a ­permanent switch to hooker.

Ahead of wearing the No.9 jersey for the first time in a ­representative game, Hunt revealed he had thought long and hard at becoming a full-time dummy half.

He starred off the bench at hooker for Queensland in Origin III after dominating in the role for Brisbane at the end of the 2017 season.

"I've had a fair bit of thought about it since that last Origin," Hunt said. "Every time I've had the opportunity to play there I felt like I've played pretty well.

 

"Actually, my wife has said to me a few times, 'why don't you just play hooker, you seem to play well at hooker'.

"Wherever the coach wants to play me I'm happy to play there, whether it's half or hooker.

"I've learnt to live with that I can play hooker pretty well, so if they want me to play there, I'll play it. But I'd still like to play halfback.

"(Playing hooker) simplifies me a lot more. I'm more worried about getting the forwards moving forward and getting the ball to the halves when they want it.

Ben Hunt had moments of brilliance for the Dragons in 2018 but also moments of madness. Picture: Brett Costello
Ben Hunt had moments of brilliance for the Dragons in 2018 but also moments of madness. Picture: Brett Costello

"It's just a lot simpler game plan for a dummy half. I think it's why I play some good footy there. I just worry about what's going on in my little bubble in the middle and take my opportunities when I get them."

The form of St George Illawarra hooker Cameron McInnes would make a switch at club level for Hunt unlikely.

Hunt will serve as a back-up to Damien Cook for Australia's two Tests this month but will start in the No.9 jersey for the PM's XIII side against PNG on Saturday in Cook's absence.

Ben Hunt continued to show his skills as a hooker for Queensland during Origin III. Picture: Adam Head
Ben Hunt continued to show his skills as a hooker for Queensland during Origin III. Picture: Adam Head

Hunt will compete for a bench spot with Tyrone Peachey in the opening Test against New Zealand.

"I'm very comfortable (playing at hooker)," Hunt said. "Everyone knows at the back end of last year I played a fair bit there and had a little opportunity in the World Cup,

"It's a position I never wanted to be comfortable with, but now I've played it a bit and got my head around it I'm pretty excited."

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