Al­fie in­spires handy­man Hunt to pro­duce goods

Townsville Bulletin - - SPORT - PETER BADEL RIKKI- LEE ARNOLD

MA­ROONS bolter Ben Hunt will chan­nel the com­pet­i­tive fire of his hero, Queens­land le­gend Al­lan Langer, as he braces for the Ori­gin de­but he feared had passed him by.

The Dragons- bound $ 6 mil­lion man will com­plete one of the great­est come­backs in NRL his­tory when he runs out in Queens­land colours in the Ori­gin de­cider at Sun­corp Sta­dium next Wed­nes­day night.

Just a month ago there were fears Hunt ( pic­tured) had played his fi­nal game for the Bron­cos af­ter be­ing axed by coach Wayne Ben­nett and dis­patched to feeder club Ip­swich in the In­trust Su­per Cup.

Now Hunt is a bona fide Ma­roon who will be­come Queens­land’s 193rd Ori­gin player when, as the No. 14 util­ity, he is pitch­forked into the fray be­fore 52,000 fans in the Sun­corp de­cider.

Queens­land coach Kevin Wal­ters has come un­der fire for blood­ing Hunt at the ex­pense of Daly Cherry- Evans and the Bron­cos play­maker ad­mits even he lost hope in his dark­est hours at Ip­swich.

“There’s been a lot of times that I thought I would never make Ori­gin,” Hunt said. “When I wasn’t play­ing the best footy and even get­ting dropped this year, things go through your mind.

“You al­ways have those bad thoughts where you think, ‘ Is this it? Am I never go­ing to get to that level?’.”

Hunt wasn’t even born when Langer made his Ori­gin de­but 30 years ago.

Langer was the 68kg jock- ey- like half­back plucked from ob­scu­rity at Ip­swich and thrust into the big­gest match of his life against the Blues at Lang Park in 1987.

“I loved that Al­fie was a lit­tle com­peti­tor, he was never the big­gest guy on the field, but ev­ery­thing he did ... he was a fierce com­peti­tor,” Hunt said.

“He al­ways fought hard to the end and that’s what I ad­mired about him.”

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