Ben Hunt of the St George illawarra Dragons in the NRL.
Ben Hunt has hit back at suggestions Brisbane attempted to poach him from the Dragons. Image by Dan Himbrechts/AAP PHOTOS
  • rugby league

Broncos made no approach to break contract: Ben Hunt

Joel Gould September 19, 2023

Ben Hunt is adamant Brisbane have at no stage tried to get him to break his contract and return to the club where he played 187 NRL games.

The 33-year-old St George Illawarra captain on Tuesday responded to questions about reports the Broncos were being investigated by the NRL over Hunt’s June request to be released from his contract.

Asked whether there was any approach from the Broncos to break his contract, or to rejoin his former club, Hunt said: “No, not a single one”.

“They have got no problems,” the Dragons skipper said. 

“They never approached me and as far as I know they never approached my management company. I did not talk to anyone there.”

Rockhampton-born Hunt wanted to return to Queensland to finish his career but the Dragons dug their heels in and refused to release him.

AAP was told on Tuesday the Broncos have not had any communication from the NRL regarding nefarious activities behind the scenes involving Hunt or his management.

Hunt is contracted to the Dragons until the end of 2025.

NRL rules would have prevented the Broncos making an offer to Hunt until November 2024 for the 2026 season, while it is also illegal for clubs to persuade players to break contracts.

Hunt said he presumed “clubs started enquiring” about his contractual situation as a result of his release request, which they are entitled to do.

“I don’t know how the Broncos stuff came about,” he said.

“I assume by me saying I wanted to come back to Queensland that the Broncos get thrown into it because I played there.”

Brisbane coach Kevin Walters said in June the Broncos would be interested in Hunt if he became available.

On June 25, after Brisbane’s 18-12 loss to Gold Coast, Broncos CEO Dave Donaghy said there was “plenty of water to go under the bridge” before Hunt could join the Broncos.

“I am just reluctant to talk about it too much until the Dragons sort through their matters with Ben,” he said.

Hunt on Tuesday confirmed he would not be leaving the Red V next year.

“I will be a Dragon,” he said.

If there was a subsequent opportunity to move back to Queensland to finish his career Hunt said he “definitely would” take it up.

“If the opportunity arises then it is something I will seriously look at,” he said.

Hunt said he was fit and keen to keep playing until the end of 2026.

He is in camp with the Prime Minister’s XIII ahead of their clash with Papua New Guinea in Port Moresby on Saturday.

“It is always very exciting to get into camp and play rep footy. It doesn’t matter how your year goes,” he said.

“We haven’t been to PNG for a few years. I am looking forward to going up there with how much they love the game.”