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State of Origin 2024: Ben Hunt’s confession about wife and kids amid mass call over Queensland future

State of Origin 2024: Ben Hunt’s confession about wife and kids amid mass call over Queensland future

Ben Hunt made the astonishing admission that next Wednesday Original state The deciding game could be his last for Queensland. And the Maroons veteran admits his wife and children will be a deciding factor in whether he leaves again in 2025.

Hunt is in camp with Billy Slater’s Maroons side in Queensland as they look to wrap up three consecutive Origin series triumphs with victory in Game 3 at Suncorp Stadium on July 17. The Dragons captain has been a mainstay for the Maroons over the years and has been used as a hooker in tandem with Storm captain Harry Grant to brilliant effect.

Ben Hunt has said his wife and children will play a big role in his decision on whether to continue playing for the Maroons after the 2024 series. Photo: Getty

The 34-year-old was one of his team’s best in Game 1 but had a quiet second game of the series at the MCG like most of his teammates as NSW levelled the series in emphatic fashion. A testament to his importance to the Maroons over the years, Hunt is set to win the coveted Dick ‘Tosser’ Turner Medal when he makes his 20th appearance for Queensland in Game 3.

Hunt admits it could be the last time he represents his state in Origin, but says he will make a decision on his future with the Maroons after the series. The veteran playmaker – like his Maroons captain Daly Cherry-Evans – is playing some of the best football of his career and his body has held up well so far. But with the likes of Grant and Bulldogs hooker Reed Mahoney waiting in the wings, Hunt says nothing is certain when it comes to his representative future.

“It could be (my last game), I’m not sure, it’s not something I’ve given much thought to,” he said. “At the moment I’m just enjoying playing Origin. I’ll probably think about it towards the end of the year or in the off-season.”

Hunt is apparently living in Sydney with his family after signing a long-term deal with the Dragons – despite trying to return home to Queensland last year. The 34-year-old has settled in under first-time Dragons coach Shane Flanagan this season, but admits being away from his wife and two young children during Origin camp is a difficult factor he will have to consider when deciding his future.

“Those are the two main factors: how the body feels and obviously you’re away (from family) for a lot of the year,” he said. “I’d like to be with them a lot more, but those are all things I have to think about. I’ve always said as long as Billy (Slater) calls me, I’m happy to play. It’s always a huge honour, but there’s going to have to come a time where I make a decision.”

Hunt is still contracted to the Dragons until the end of the 2025 season, but some have suggested he will extend his deal until the end of 2026 before potentially considering retirement. For now, the Queensland No.9 is determined to help Slater’s men win another Shield and says the coach showed the guts of an “angry dad” after they were beaten 38-18 in Game 2.

Ben Hunt was a key part of Billy Slater’s Maroons State of Origin squad. Photo: Getty

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“We watched the Melbourne game and it was a really tough game for sure. Billy had honest conversations with a lot of us,” Hunt said. “(Slater) was like an angry dad. He pointed out a few things he didn’t like. I don’t think there were many players in that game who could say they played a good game of footy.”

“It was a tough video session but one we needed. There were some embarrassing moments for sure. In the first half there were some really bad defensive mistakes. They played a good game but we weren’t at our best… I don’t like losing and losing like that in an Origin jersey, it hurts.”

“We have to catch up this week. I always like coaches like that. I don’t want my coach to shy away from the tough conversations. I want to know where we are and Billy is one of them. He pointed out a lot of things that were wrong and held the players accountable for their actions.”

with AAP