Ben Hunt, the unsettled halfback for Dragons, has accepted that his time under coach Shane Flanagan will extend into 2024, according to reports. However, as per the Sydney Morning Herald, Hunt is planning to facilitate a departure before the 2025 season kicks off, hoping to chase down an elusive premiership.
Rumours have circulated that the Dragons are set to announce several high-profile signings under Flanagan’s leadership. Adding to the tension in Hunt’s camp, the club has seemingly been tied to both Joseph Suaalii and Joey Manu in recent times.
Manu will be open for negotiation with competing teams as of November 1, while Suaalii’s one-year NRL contract ends before he signs a generous deal with Rugby Australia.
Hunt’s agent, Col Davis, reportedly revealed that ending the seasoned halfback’s contract prematurely is not an option. The Broncos and Titans expressed interest in acquiring Hunt, should the Dragons let him go.
Flanagan now bears the responsibility of maximising Hunt’s performance, who had earlier announced his decision to leave the club this season. Even though Hunt plans to leave by 2025, Jayden Sullivan‘s release, the likely successor, complicates things.
Hunt’s presence on the team for the 2024 season was reaffirmed by Flanagan who spoke to him concerning his intentions to depart. During a 2GB interview, Flanagan clarified, “I’ve communicated with Ben and I believe we have resolved the issue. He knows that he will be part of the club in the upcoming year.”
In a meeting prior to a match, Flanagan, wearing his coach’s cap, expressed to Hunt his significance to the team by saying, “Ben, I need you in my team. You’re my captain, my halfback and I can’t let you leave. The club supports my decision; they want you to stay.”
Flanagan continued, “We talked it over and he told me, ‘I comprehend Flanno, I fully understand’… and we moved on to discuss the next season.”