Ben Hunt’s management will hold off on any further attempts to have the Dragons captain released from his contract until after the State of Origin series. Despite interest from the Brisbane Broncos in signing him on a short-term contract, Hunt has expressed his commitment to the Dragons for the remainder of the season. However, his representatives plan to revisit the issue in a couple of weeks to negotiate his release for 2024. This ongoing situation is clouding the Dragons‘ season, especially after their recent heavy losses to the Warriors and Sharks.
Although interim coach Ryan Carr has stated that Hunt is committed to the Dragons until the end of the season, it seems likely that the halfback will request to be freed from the final two years of his contract, as he has expressed a desire to return to southeast Queensland. Hunt has even indicated that he would be willing to continue as captain, but the Dragons will need a significant improvement in form to avoid their first wooden spoon since 1938.
While the future of Ben Hunt remains uncertain, new Dragons coach Shane Flanagan has been busy assembling his support staff. Andrew Gray, who previously worked with Flanagan during the Sharks‘ premiership-winning season in 2016, has agreed to join the Dragons as their physical performance manager. Additionally, Dan Lawson, a State of Origin physiotherapist with experience at the Dragons, will also be joining the coaching staff next year. These additions will be crucial in improving the team’s second-half efforts, as the Dragons have struggled in that area this season.
In other news, Sharks forward Dale Finucane is facing another potential suspension for a dangerous tackle. He has been charged by the match review committee following the win over the Dragons and could receive a two-week ban if he accepts an early guilty plea. If he chooses to fight the charge at the judiciary and is unsuccessful, the ban could be extended to three weeks. This follows a previous suspension for a hip-drop tackle earlier in the year.
On the Dragons‘ side, winger Tautau Moga has been hit with a $1000 fine for a grade-one careless high tackle on Jesse Ramien. As the season progresses, the Dragons will need to address these disciplinary issues while also navigating the ongoing situation surrounding Ben Hunt‘s contract.