Ben Hunt cleared to play against his future club
THE Broncos have received a boost with key utility Ben Hunt cleared of a suspected broken hand for Friday night's crucial clash against the Dragons at Suncorp Stadium.
The showdown will have a spicy narrative when Hunt goes up against his future employer, which blew Brisbane out of the water by paying a whopping $6 million for his signature from next season.
Many are questioning whether Hunt's form warrants such a hefty investment, but the Maroons utility has the chance to showcase his worth by terrorising the Dragons on Friday night.
There were fears Hunt could miss the clash and he trained at Thursday's captain's run with his left hand heavily bandaged, but Broncos coach Wayne Bennett confirmed the makeshift hooker would face his future club.
"Everyone is fit to play, we're all good," Bennett said.
"Ben was pretty happy with himself at training this morning, he told me he is right to play.
"I thought it was a bit of a reality check for him last week (playing at hooker in place of injured rake Andrew McCullough). Ben didn't get as much freedom as he did the week before. But I am pleased with what he is doing, I know he is dangerous there and what he can bring to the team.
"We are in a good position but there are reasons for us to win, too. It's important for us to play well so it should be a good game of football. The Dragons are in a place where they have to win and we are at that place where we have to maintain our momentum."
Bennett believes Hunt will not feel any additional pressure facing the Dragons, who were pilloried for signing him to a $1 million-a-season deal.
"In Ben's case he has nothing to prove to the Dragons," he said. "He is going there for the next five or six years and the deal is done. So he doesn't need to show them what he can do, they know what he can do, that's why they bought him.
"I don't think you get excited about the club you are joining, I don't think that's an issue, but when you have played somewhere, you want to prove a point.
"Ben has been a tremendous player at this club and this team, he has to make the adjustments to another team. He has the ability to do it.
"He is a talented footballer, you could play him five-eighth, you could play him hooker, you could play him fullback and he would do a good job."
Bennett said the Storm deserved to be rated premiership favourite but was adamant the team the Broncos upset in the 2006 grand final was not invincible.
"They have been the most consistent team all year, they have played some great football and have some wonderful results," he said of the Storm.
"They aren't leading the comp because they haven't done a great job, they have to be the benchmark.
"But everybody is beatable, we're beatable tomorrow night."