Ben Hunt at a Brisbane Broncos training session.
Ben Hunt at a Brisbane Broncos training session. DAVE HUNT

Legend's shock call over Dragons' $6m man

DANNY Buderus has delivered a stunning assessment of Brisbane's newest x-factor and the Dragons' looming $6 million man Ben Hunt - he's a better hooker than a halfback.

Hunt's shift to cover the season-ending injury to regular rake Andrew McCullough has sparked the Broncos and the departing star has been in rare form over the past fortnight, with Brisbane surging to second on the ladder and rattling up a combined 86-10 margin in big wins over the Titans and Sharks.

Despite copping a wrist knock early in the week, Hunt is once again expected to start from the bench and be thrown into the fray against his future club St George Illawarra from the 20-minute mark once Sam Thaiday weathers the traditional sorting-out period.

The Dragons have paid a king's ransom for Hunt to steer them from the scrumbase in 2018, and he'll do exactly that despite reverting back to the dummy-half role he filled in the formative years of his Broncos career.

As one of the greatest hookers of the modern era, though, Buderus may just give the Red V food for thought with his appraisal of their big-money buy, declaring Hunt's shift capable of taking Brisbane all the way in his final year with his junior club.

"Ben Hunt at nine - sensational," Buderus said on Fox Sports NRL360.

"I love it, he defends well. I love McCullough as well but I think Ben Hunt in there gives them so much potential to attack."

Asked if Hunt was proving himself a better hooker than halfback, Buderus said: "I think so.

"He can just get out and run and just play and he's playing against a team that (has) paid big money for him in the Dragons this week."

While Hunt has only come up against two underwhelming oppositions in the Gold Coast - all at sea with coach Neil Henry fighting for his career - and a Cronulla outfit battling a late-season slump, his returns since reverting to the utility role have been impressive.

Against the Titans Hunt finished with a hat-trick, two try assists and two line-breaks, while his defensive workload over the last fortnight is on a par with his season average of 19 tackles a game.

 

Kodi Nikorima during a Broncos training session in Brisbane.
Kodi Nikorima during a Broncos training session in Brisbane. DAVE HUNT

His strong start in the middle continues a remarkable resurgence since being sensationally dropped to reserve grade two months ago.

After a week with Ipswich, coached in flamboyant fashion by the Walker brothers, Hunt has rediscovered the running game Wayne Bennett feared had deserted him en route to a maiden Maroons call-up for Origin III.

Hunt's move to hooker has also allowed Kodi Nikorima to claim the No.7 jumper where he currently boasts a 9-0 record.

Such has been Brisbane's potency in the past week, it has averaged more than 35 points a game and revived its entertainers tag from the 1990s in the eyes of Queensland Origin great Billy Moore.

"I look at them now and they remind me of the halcyon period of 1992-93," Moore said.

"The spine back then they had some great names back then - (Allan) Langer and the two Walters brothers and Julian O'Neill.

"Right now what I'm seeing in this spine they mimic them in that they (also) footy. They play off the cuff; they are broken-play specialists.

"And if the forward pack at the Broncos can get downfield and create opportunities with second-phase play, these guys can score points.

"And they've got two match-winning centres as well.

"Back then they had Steve Renouf; now you've got Tautau Moga and James Roberts.

"They look like the real challengers to the Melbourne Storm."

News Corp Australia

A profitable partnership

A profitable partnership

East Ballina Lions and Ballina Fair partner to support farmers

Keeping the heart beating

Keeping the heart beating

Bike ride to raise AED awareness

Skatefest going ahead

Skatefest going ahead

Fair Go Skatefest to run again this year

Local Partners