Ben Hunt is off contract with the Brisbane Broncos at the end of 2017.
It’s been reported the Brisbane halfback has been formally offered one million dollars a year by Sydney club St George-Illawarra Dragons, but was potentially heading out west to Penrith Panthers to link up with former coach and mentor Anthony Griffin. That was until boss Phil Gould quashed the rumours.
There’s no doubt Ben Hunt is an accomplished National Rugby League player having guided his side to that epic 2015 Grand Final which quite possibly goes down as one of the great deciders in the modern era.
A Grand Final that will go down in history with Hunt’s fumble handing the Cowboys their maiden premiership.
Would the nightmare on the first Sunday of September prove to be a career-changing moment for good or bad?
Case in point with Sydney Roosters Todd Byrne being chased down by Penrith Panthers Scott Sattler in the 2003 Grand Final. It was the beginning of the end for a promising career. He never regained any confidence for the rest of his career.
It felt during 2016 Hunt struggled to produce man of the match performances and didn’t take on the line as much. To me, confidence had dropped.
Which leads me to wonder if for how good Ben Hunt can be on any given day, man of the match performance or being a contributor to victory; is he worth a million dollars?
On 2016 form the simple answer is (in the famous words of Gus) no, no, no, no, no.
Hunt would be “Well over priced” in a market where JT, Cronk and Smith are at that level to receive a huge pay packet having accomplished long term international and state representative honours.
Ben Hunt is no JT, nor Cronk.
Yes, Hunt has an entitlement to get that money if a club decides to offer him a pile of cash.
The question is also remains whether the Dragons will have any cash left after negotiating new contracts for Gareth Widdop and Josh Dugan.
If they managed to sign Hunt and retain Widdop and Dugan what happens to the negotiations for Euan Aitken, Jason Nightingale and even Jacob Host?
It could be Aitken who could be squeezed out. Having debuted for Scotland in the Four Nations and a genuine up and coming star of the NRL at 21 years of age, there will be plenty of interest for him out in the marketplace.
Hopefully the Dragons carefully consider whether Ben Hunt is worth seven digit figures which could leave them with a more depleted playing roster going forward.