'We're going to chase a premiership'
RUGBY LEAGUE: Ben Hunt says he has been assured by coach Wayne Bennett he will see out the season with Brisbane.
After accepting a lucrative $6 million five-year deal with a player option for a sixth from St George-Illawarra, Hunt has revealed how the conversation went down with his mentor.
While Bennett has previously released and dropped players from his first-grade side for pledging their futures to rival clubs, the halfback will remain the first-choice half this season.
"I went up and had a chat to (Wayne) and just told him that it was what's best for my family and I had to think about them first. He was really supportive," Hunt told Channel Nine.
"(Bennett) knows that I'm here to give 100% for this team, he knows how much I enjoy playing for the Broncos and all my teammates that I have here.
"He's assured me that he's going to go with me this year and we're going to chase a premiership."
While Hunt admits Penrith contacted him just before Christmas to touch base, the Dragons' offer of six seasons was far too enticing to turn down.
"A six-year deal, they don't come along very often in the NRL. It really nailed it down for me," he said.
"It definitely is a business nowadays. Everyone talks about loyalty and all that kind of stuff but it is a business and family comes first for me. I've got a little son and what was best for me and my family and that was to move on."
A Brisbane product, the Broncos are the only club Hunt's ever known.
Preparing to move his family to Wollongong at the end of the year, Hunt said the town had a country vibe without the "hustle and bustle" of the city, which contributed to his decision.
Another draw was the Dragons' forward pack. With the likes of Paul Vaughan and Russell Packer leading the charge, it should make his job a lot easier.
"You just have to look at their forward pack," he said.
"For a halfback, that's what I look for. I think they've got one of the biggest and most mobile forward packs in the competition."
With the Broncos set to ramp up contract talks with Anthony Milford, who is off-contract this year, they're now also on the lookout for a new No.7.
This year several high- quality halves come off- contract, including Shaun Johnson, Mitchell Pearce, Luke Brooks and Chad Townsend.
While the Broncos have been linked with their former junior star Ash Taylor, who is now at the Gold Coast, the half is under contract with the Titans.
But Hunt suggests that hisreplacement could alreadybe in the side.
"If it had to be someone off the roster at the moment, I think you'd be leaning towards Kodi Nikorima or someone like that," Hunt said.
"I'm not too sure what direction the club will go in but if he had to step in, he'd do a great job."
Utility back Nikorima recently re-signed with the team for another two years, overlooking interest from Melbourne.
The 22-year-old made his NRL debut last year with all 36 appearances coming from the bench.