Hunt in hot seat for Dragons
AS St George Illawarra attempt to snap a four-game losing streak against Cronulla on Sunday, Ben Hunt knows he must be the man to steer the Dragons back to success.
A candid Ben Hunt says he can steer Saints back into the winner's circle despite feeling added pressure to solve all the club's on-field issues in the absence of fellow playmakers Gareth Widdop (shoulder) and Corey Norman (cheekbone).
Hunt's Dragons will attempt to snap a four-game losing streak when they host derby-rivals Cronulla in Wollongong on Sunday.
The Dragons haven't lost five consecutive games since 2016.
Hunt will face the Sharks with yet another change to his spine with rookie Zac Lomax named at fullback, while whippet Jai Field remains at five-eighth despite last week's thumping from Newcastle.
Without Widdop and Norman, Hunt's role has been elevated to be the dominant voice on-field and chief conductor of the Dragons attack.
Conceding the loss of Norman and Widdop has added pressure to his game, Hunt admitted he needed to be better than recent weeks - and was adamant he could be on Sunday.
"They're big losses (Norman and Widdop) and to be honest in the last couple of weeks, there has been a little bit more pressure on myself,'' Hunt said.
"I don't think I have played as good as I've needed to play. Especially against the Knights, I was pretty disappointed with that first half.
"A couple of things I did, I let the team down and just put too much pressure on us.
"Where our team is now, I need to put my hand up and be better in those situations.''
Hunt said he was guilty of overplaying his hand.
"We got behind by a few points and I feel like I was trying for too much. I was looking for the wrong play, rather than just sticking to our game plan,'' Hunt said.
"That's something as a halfback you've got to do and I went away from it the last couple of weeks.''
Hunt was asked whether it was all doom and gloom at the Dragons, of which he replied: "Not yet. I think it's getting close to that point, but we're not there yet.
"Apart from last week (against Newcastle), we've showed that we can play good footy in periods of the games, we just need to do it consistently.
"We need to change our attitude a bit to certain things and we'll be fine.''
Sunday represents Hunt's final chance to push his Queensland Origin claims.
If Daly Cherry-Evans is selected at halfback, it's expected Hunt will either start at hooker or on the bench for the Maroons.
The dummy-half role, while far from foreign to Hunt, will pose a fresh character test if he's required to defend for 80-minutes in the middle of the field.
Hunt said he felt comfortable and confident that he would handle the job, should it come his way.
"In the past, I didn't think I'd be able to do it, but when I played nine at the Broncos (for eight games in 2017), I worked out ways to stay in the game and defend in the middle for 80-minutes,'' Hunt said.
"And so I'm feeling pretty confident I can do that. I'm fit and feeling good at the moment and I feel I can do the job.''