‘There’s regrets’: Ben Hunt opens up on Dragons contract standoff

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St George Illawarra Dragons halfback Ben Hunt has revealed he has some regrets over his contract standoff with the membership.

The 33-year-old 312-game NRL veteran was within the headlines for all of the incorrect causes in 2023.

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The Dragons have been the NRL’s large underachievers over the previous 5 years, lacking the ultimate each season, with 2023’s sixteenth place end the worst within the present horror run.

The truth is, for the reason that membership’s 2010 premiership, the Dragons have made the finals simply 3 times (2011, 2015 and 2018).

Having joined the membership in 2018, it means Hunt has made the finals simply as soon as in his time on the membership.

And all of it got here to a head in 2023 when coach and shut buddy Anthony Griffin was fired, resulting in Hunt to name for a launch, simply eight months after signing a contract extension till the top of the 2025 season.

Talking to 9 Information, Hunt admitted the stress received an excessive amount of.

“I most likely made it recognized fairly loud final 12 months that it was getting fairly irritating,” Hunt mentioned.

“There’s regrets about components of it. In a approach, I’m glad that some issues got here to a head but it surely undoubtedly may have been dealt with higher, that’s for positive. It’s been a protracted couple of years and it kind of compounded into a number of little issues that kind of ticked it off on the finish.

“If I may take the time again, I might do it in another way.”

The Dragons captain sparked a firestorm when he formally requested the membership for a launch after former coach Anthony Griffin was fired final Could.

Whereas former premiership successful coach Shane Flanagan was named the membership’s new coach for 2024, it wasn’t sufficient to appease Hunt, who started angling for a launch forward of the second State of Origin conflict.

However the Dragons stood agency, refusing to permit their marquee participant go away regardless of his clear and publicly vocal displeasure on the membership.

Hunt had signed an extension solely eight months earlier than the contract saga started.

Hunt declared on the time that he wished to return to Queensland.

“I’d like to return house. That’s what we’d love to do. It’s for household causes. There’s a complete lot extra to it — different issues — however that’s the primary purpose,” Hunt mentioned.

However nonetheless the Dragons stood agency and Hunt ultimately confirmed he’d keep on the membership for the 2024 season.

Nevertheless, it didn’t persuade many as the assumption was that he’d try to drive an exit after the 2024 season as he chases a premiership.

Hunt has been saying all the proper issues forward of the 2024 season thus far.

Talking with Fox Sports activities Information, Hunt mentioned he was happy with the route Flanagan was taking the group.

“The conversations I’ve had with him (Flanagan), [2024] goes to be a group constructed on arduous work and self-discipline and competing proper to the ultimate whistle,” Hunt mentioned.

“He believes over the previous few years there have been plenty of guys who haven’t actually fought for that further inch and he needs to be a group who can grind groups out and actually battle proper to the dying.

“We’ve received plenty of arduous work to do to get to that time, but it surely’s thrilling.”

One difficulty that will bubble away beneath the floor is that Flanagan has already informed Dragons followers to mood expectations forward of the brand new season, saying “our actual focus shall be 25-26”.