Sports

Dragons playmaker Hunt laughs off critics

When you're as maligned as Ben Hunt, sometimes all you can do is laugh.

And that's exactly how the St George Illawarra No.7 reacted after being pilloried by 18,387 Leichhardt diehards for his high ball blunder against the Wests Tigers on Saturday night.

You could have forgiven Hunt for wanting to climb into a hole when he dropped the kick-off after the halftime and Chris Lawrence scored from the resulting possession.

However, he insists he was relaxed before the Dragons' pressure-relieving 20-10 win.

Hunt has become an easy target after his infamous drop in the 2015 grand final which allowed North Queensland's Johnathan Thurston to kick the winning field goal.

"I had a bit of a laugh at myself," Hunt said.

"The fans were into me even before the kick-off. I know they would have been having a bit of a chuckle."

Hunt has had his setbacks throughout his career, in particular having the finger pointed at him following the Broncos' grand final loss.

He has also looked well below his best after his poor performance in State of Origin II this year and being relegated to the Queensland bench for game three.

Saturday's performance could have been another disaster for Hunt – he lost the ball over the line in the first half and kicked out on the full before being sin-binned in the second stanza.

And after the five losses over the previous six weeks, another defeat would have left the Dragons in danger of falling out of the top eight.

But Hunt – and his side – managed to steady the ship and their season.

"I don't feel like I'm that far off, there's just a few little errors in my game that I want to fix up. If I keep working at it then I'll come good," he said.

"I feel like I've had slumps in my career before and bad games before and I've got through it, so I'll just do it again."

During the week Hunt's wife Bridget launched a scathing attack via social media on the Maroons and Australian representative's critics.

Hunt said she wanted to make a point about the affect abuse and undue criticism can have on athletes.

"Everyone cops their fair share of criticism and it wasn't just speaking about me," he said.

"I've played with a lot of players that have had that sort of thing in their careers, they haven't handled it that well and they finish their careers early or had depression from it."

Australian Associated Press

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