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Hunt knows combination with Norman must improve

Former Broncos playmaker Ben Hunt has outlined the difficulties of adjusting to a new halves combination with Corey Norman at the Dragons and conceded the partnership can be "a lot better".

As the Dragons prepare to face Brisbane on Thursday, the club's new-look spine of Hunt and Norman in the halves and Gareth Widdop at fullback is under pressure after failing to click in losses to the Cowboys and Rabbitohs.

Hunt is hoping for a change of fortune as he prepares to return to Suncorp Stadium for the first time since the Dragons thrashed Brisbane 48-18 in last year’s elimination semi-final.

"It is coming along OK. Obviously it can still be a lot better," Hunt said after the Dragons arrived in Brisbane on Tuesday.

"We've had patches in games where we were really good at working together, and different times where we fell away a bit and didn't stick to the game plan.

"They are things that we have to fix up. We are working every day at training to sort each other's game out and get a feel for each other. I think we will only get better."

Dragons halfback Ben Hunt.
Dragons halfback Ben Hunt. ©Robb Cox/NRL Photos

Last year Hunt won the race to the Maroons' No.7 jersey in game one of the State of Origin series. He often said that having Widdop at five-eighth was a perfect complement to his game.

He conceded adjusting to the change in the halves dynamic had been a challenge.

"It is pretty difficult, especially when you put Gaz [Widdop] in the mix as well. You've got the three of us all trying to create," he said.

"You've got to work out the best time to inject yourself and the best time to step back and let the other players do that as well. You've just got to find the right balance."

While Widdop is in the custodian's role, Hunt was adamant he could still be a match-winner at the back.

"He's a weapon wherever he is in the team," Hunt said.

"I've said many times that he is one of the best players I’ve played with. Whether it is six or one he is going to do a great job for us."

Broncos forward Alex Glenn said on Tuesday that Hunt thrived on games against his old club and would be seeking "bragging rights".

Dragons five-eighth Corey Norman.
Dragons five-eighth Corey Norman. ©Grant Trouville/NRL Photos

It is two wins from two so far for Hunt who starred in the round one win over Brisbane last year and in the 2018 elimination semi.

"I don’t mind having bragging rights against some of my mates that I've played a lot of footy with," he said.

"I really enjoy it. I'm coming up against Alex on my edge and he's been a great friend of mind for a long time."

Hunt said it was "massive" on a personal note to return to Suncorp Stadium.

"I played my first game down there [at Kogarah] against the Broncos last year and it wasn’t as emotional as coming back to Suncorp," he said.

"You've got all the old fans up here and the stadium I played so long at. You are sitting in the away dressing room and that is the strangest feeling to start with and then you run out on the opposite side of the field. It is a whirlwind of emotions that is for sure."

Hunt noted the change of style the Broncos were playing with under Anthony Seibold while expressing his surprise at the exit of former coach Wayne Bennett.

"It was a bit of a shock really. I thought with Wayne coming home [in 2015] he would finish his career there and ride off into the sunset but it all got a bit crazy there and dragged out," he said.

"Talking to some of my [former] team-mates they were happy when it was all sorted out.

"I think anyone that has watched the first two rounds knows they are playing a different style of footy to last year. They are very creative with their attack and really showed what they can do against the Cowboys. It is going to be an explosive game."

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Queensland Rugby League respects and honours the Traditional Custodians of the land and pay our respects to their Elders past, present and future. We acknowledge the stories, traditions and living cultures of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples on the lands we meet, gather and play on.

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