Refined kicking behind Hunt’s NRL rise

Brisbane halfback Ben Hunt reckons an improved kicking game is the biggest reason for a rise which has made him one of the NRL’s most influential players.

Hunt was described last week by Wayne Bennett as his biggest “project” at the Broncos following his coaching return.

It’s clear that focus is paying huge dividends with the 25-year-old playing a central role in the Broncos’ resurgence in 2015 which has earned them a home preliminary final.

Hunt says he’s done a lot to fix up one element of his game that was most letting him down.

“I felt last year I was very inconsistent with my kicking and it’s something I’ve been working hard on with Kevvy (Walters) and a couple of the coaches here,” Hunt told reporters on Thursday after training at a sodden Red Hill.

“My biggest focus was on long kicking, I wasn’t doing that really well.

“If you can find space with your long kicks more often than not you’re going to be in good field position.

“It’s something I guess still can improve and needs to improve more but it’s going in the right direction.”

Having found his range with the boot, Hunt has been making the right decisions in fifth and final-tackle situations and thus helped the Broncos win more repeat sets.

That was one of the first things Bennett was keen to sort out upon his return to Brisbane late last year, Hunt said.

“He felt watching us the previous year that we were putting good sets together but we weren’t finishing well,” he said.

“You give a team seven tackles and more often than not they’re putting an attacking kick on you.

“We were letting teams off the hook too easy. It’s one thing he really wanted me to work on, my kicking game and finishing sets well, and obviously defence – across the board he wanted everyone defending better.”

Hunt was one of several Broncos, along with skipper Corey Parker and centre Jack Reed, who were on light duties at Brisbane’s final training session of the week on Thursday.

Hunt said he was still getting over some minor fitness issues, including one related to the cork which forced him to miss their late-season loss to the Melbourne Storm – the first time he was absent from the Broncos line-up for nearly two years.

However, none of the trio are in any danger of missing next Friday’s home preliminary final clash against either the Sydney Roosters or Canterbury.

“That’s the biggest advantage, getting the body fresh,” Hunt said of the week off.

“You can sit back and watch those other teams hopefully get stuck into each other, and we’ll be ready to go.”

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