Words of encouragement from Johnathan Thurston may not have helped an inconsolable Ben Hunt after the 2015 NRL grand final.
But Brisbane great Darren Lockyer believes the North Queensland skipper will bring the best out of Hunt in Friday night’s re-match at a packed Suncorp Stadium.
Hunt has not been himself since being vilified for an extra-time knock-on in the lead-up to Thurston’s premiership-winning field goal for the Cowboys last year.
No one could calm Hunt after his grand final mistake, not even Thurston who took time out from the Cowboys’ on-field celebrations to console the distraught Broncos No.7.
Fast forward five months and Lockyer believes lining up against Thurston again may be just what Hunt needs to shake off his funk.
Hunt has had a quiet start to the season but Lockyer believes taking on the Cowboys playmaker will spark the Broncos No.7.
“He is coming up against the best in the game, that may bring the best out of Ben,” Lockyer said on Wednesday.
“He is one break or try away from getting his confidence back.
“If he just keeps working hard on the training paddock it will come for him.
“Lots of good players have their quiet periods – he will turn it around.”
Thurston admitted he was not much help to Hunt despite offering a shoulder to cry on in the dramatic post-grand final scenes.
“I just told him to hold his head up high. They wouldn’t have been in that position if it wasn’t for him,” Thurston said.
“I thought he was one of the best players on the park that night.
“But it doesn’t matter what you say to someone in that position – they are pretty inconsolable.”
Thurston still tried to pump up Hunt on Wednesday, saying there would be no point testing him under the high ball again on Friday night.
“He is a strong minded person,” he said.
“That (dropped ball) will be at the back of his mind but I am sure he is over it.”