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‘Very privileged and lucky’: Hunt prepares for historic 300th game

St George Illawarra Dragons skipper Ben Hunt will appear in his 300th NRL match this Saturday evening when the side takes on the North Queensland Cowboys in Townsville.

Hunt will become the 47th player to join the NRL’s famed “300-game club” in what beckons as an historic moment for the hard-nosed halfback and those who have supported him throughout the journey.

The 33-year-old admits that he is pleasantly surprised to have reached such a major milestone.

“I guess [it’s] something that I never really thought about when I was playing NRL,” he said.

“I was always just happy and grateful to be playing the game that I love and it kind of snuck up pretty quick, to be honest… The last couple years, you know, a couple people mention it to you here and there that it’s coming up and, yeah, I just feel very privileged and lucky to be playing the game and to get 300.”

Hunt, who played his junior football with the Blackwater Crushers in Queensland’s Central Highlands, credits his family for helping him reach such impressive heights.

“It’s pretty special for the family… I’ve talked to them a lot about it over the last couple of weeks,” he said.

“They’re obviously extremely proud… They’ve played a massive part in getting me here.”

Dragons second rower Jaydn Su’A spent two seasons alongside Hunt in Brisbane before joining him at the Dragons and made his State of Origin debut alongside him in 2020.

Su’A heaped a mountain of praise on his inspirational skipper.

“He’s been a star player for a few years now… His game is based on effort, you know, I love playing with him.

“He inspires me and he inspires a lot of us… Hopefully we can put in a good performance.”

The milestone was celebrated by the club at the Royal Pines Resort on the Gold Coast during the week with Hunt’s family and several of his former teammates and coaches, including Kevin Walters, Andrew McCullough, Jordan Kahu and Jharal Yow Yeh among the guests.

A tribute video containing clips that spanned from his days as an under-20s player at Brisbane to now was played which provoked some laughter among the attendees.

Hunt’s father Geoff, who was a talented footballer in his own right before making the decision to take up work in the mines in the late 1970s, took to the stage to share some emotional words for his son.

“It means everything to us… Congratulations, Ben,” he said.

“So proud, mate… You won’t get anywhere unless you’re tough, train, and be playing harder than anyone else and that’s what it’s all about.”

Whilst honoured to reach his 300-game milestone, Hunt maintains that getting the season back on track remains the biggest key.

“The biggest focus is trying to win games… we’re obviously in a bit of a hole,” he said.

“I’d trade in the milestone to get a couple of wins on the board… That’s the biggest focus this week.”

Hunt’s career by the numbers:

  • Hunt becomes the 47th player in NRL history to reach the 300-game mark.
  • He also becomes the 15th player to play 300 NRL games, score 50 NRL tries, and play 10 Tests/Origins, joining Cooper Cronk, Darren Lockyer, Steve Menzies, Paul Gallen, Darius Boyd, Brad Fittler, Nathan Hindmarsh, Andrew Ettingshausen, Luke Lewis, Johnathan Thurston, Billy Slater, Brett Kimmorley, Anthony Watmough and Anthony Minichiello.
  • 545 players played in the inaugural NYC competition in 2008 and only 10 currently play in the NRL, including Hunt.
  • He has played alongside many teammates over the years ranging from 47-year-old Tonie Carroll to 20-year-old Toby Couchman.
  • He becomes the seventh member of the “300-game club” to wear the Red V, joining Benji Marshall, Darius Boyd, Josh Morris, Luke Priddis, Brent Kite and Andrew McCullough.
Acknowledgement of Country

St George Illawarra Dragons respect and honour the Traditional Custodians of the land and pay our respects to their Elders past, present and future. We acknowledge the stories, traditions and living cultures of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders peoples, where our games are played, our programs are conducted and in the communities we support.

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