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Brisbane Broncos: Can Ben Hunt step up at Hooker?

Andrew McCullough is out, and Ben Hunt will take on the number 9 jersey for his remaining time with the Broncos.


Ben Hunt taking over as hooker from an injured Andrew McCullough might be the best outcome from a nasty situation.  In last week’s game against the Parramatta Eels, McCullough was accidentally hit by a careless tackle from his own teammate and came away with a season-ending injury to his ACL. Amidst speculation about who might take over, the Broncos announced that Hunt would be stepping up to the number nine jersey.

Looking for a consistent finish

That will mean that the halfback will be finishing his Brisbane career away from his usual position before moving to the Dragons at the end of the season. He has played as a hooker before and will have to find consistency for Brisbane as they finish their race towards finals footy. The ability to fill in the gaps says good things about the Broncos’ ability to shuffle players when required.

Korbin Sims is optimistic: “We’ve got a good system here where if one player slots out, another player slots straight back in.” 

Hunt is more than capable of handling himself in this role. He has a good passing game, is a solid runner and he can tackle. He may not chalk up 50+ tackles a game but he certainly demonstrates the right mentality. While his tackling game will be important, it will be imperative for the Broncos to focus on getting points on the board in the lead up to finals footy, which is something Hunt can bring.

Walters believes Hunt is a genuine hooker

Kerrod Walters remarked that number nine was the best position for Hunt but the Broncos elected to move him to halfback in 2014. He has been inconsistent at halfback but he has not been first choice hooker due to his defensive abilities. The forwards will have to shoulder extra tackling responsibility. But Hunt is no slouch himself, averaging 20 tackles and missing three per game on average in 2017.

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Expectation will focus on Hunt’s ability to be crafty around the ball as he will have to be more hands-on and be looking for gaps to exploit with his running game. The key will be to have options on the fifth tackle. With Hunt, Anthony Milford and Kodi Nikorima attacking, opposing teams will have to contain the playmakers before they can consider putting points on the board.

It would be good for Hunt to find some consistent football before finals come around. The Dragons will be watching with interest, wondering what form Hunt will be in when he arrives at their camp next year. He is going to be explosive out of dummy-half. As for the rest of the playmakers, if they do their part the Broncos will be hard to defeat in finals footy.

Do you think Hunt will perform well at hooker for the Broncos? Let us know in the comments below.

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Tammy Singh

I'm a New Zealander, living in Australia, married to an Indian Fijian - and we love our sports. We'll watch almost anything except motor sports and golf. I'd love to hear what you've got to say - whether you agree, disagree or just have more to add, leave your thoughts in the comments.

Brisbane Broncos: Can Ben Hunt step up at Hooker?

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