Hunt draws line in the sand

Townsville Bulletin - - SPORT -

BEN Hunt is primed to run riot against the Ti­tans tonight, thanks to an al­co­hol and junk food over­haul which has him in the best shape of his ca­reer.

Hunt is a man on a mis­sion at Sun­corp Sta­dium, although sta­tis­tics show the Bron­cos half- back has made only five line breaks this year, well shy of the 23 he pro­duced in his bumper cam­paign last sea­son.

That’s an 80 per cent de­crease in Hunt’s at­tack­ing thrust, prompt­ing Bron­cos as­sis­tant coach Kevin Wal­ters to give the No. 7 a li­cence to run the ball at ev­ery op­por­tu­nity.

The fig­ures do not con­cern Hunt be­cause, for the first time since his NRL de­but six years ago, he has struck the right bal­ance on and off the field.

On it, he has found a con­sis­tent scrum­base foil in An­thony Mil­ford, whose dy­namic run­ning has eased the pres­sure on Hunt to be Bris­bane’s pri­mary cre­ative weapon.

Off the pad­dock, Hunt has over­hauled his diet and at­ti­tude, say­ing the days of abus­ing his body with fast food and booze are over.

The 25- year- old has ben­e­fited from his more pro­fes­sional ap­proach, say­ing he is fit­ter than ever as he looks to tor­ment the Ti­tans and steer Bris­bane closer to their first mi­nor premier­ship in 15 years.

“I feel so much he a l t h i e r now and

have more energy than ever,” Hunt said. “As I’ve got­ten older, I felt things had to change to help my body and stay in the NRL. “When I was younger, I’d go out on the drink ev­ery week­end. I would have junk food

three

times a Some­times would

on week.

I get the

dr i n k F r i d a y night and eat fast food all week­end. “I still have a treat ev­ery now and then, but my part­ner has im­proved my diet im­mensely and it’s help­ing me play bet­ter football be­cause I’m leaner and feel­ing bet­ter. “This year I prob­a­bly haven’t had as many stand­out games, but I have found a bet­ter bal­ance. Last year, I had some real

highs but then I’d have lows and go miss­ing in games.”

Hunt’s tackle busts have de­creased from 62 to 32 this sea­son but he has cre­ated more line break as­sists ( 24 to 16) and im­proved his kick­ing me­tres ( 315 to 418). With Mil­ford in fine form, Hunt has been given a li­cence to thrill against the Ti­tans af­ter a tac­ti­cal dis­cus­sion with Wal­ters.

“It’s been a strong part of my game, my run­ning,” Hunt said. “I’ve watched some video with Kevvie and he said, ‘ You need to run the ball a bit more in each half’.

“It’s some­thing I want to do. I need to get my hands on the ball and take the line on.”

Bron­cos coach Wayne Ben­nett praised Hunt’s abil­ity to keep the Bris­bane jug­ger­naut rolling:

“I couldn’t be hap­pier with Ben Hunt. I re­ally like Ben’s tenac­ity, his at­ti­tude is great and he loves to com­pete.’’

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