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Ben Hunt on that moment: 'It's still pretty surreal'

State of Origin is all about moments. The good and the bad are all charged with passion, emotion and a drive to win.

There's great games, great tackles, great intercepts, great tries and great try celebrations. There’s also frustrating mistakes, heart-breaking losses and devastating injuries.

All of the moments define someone’s Origin experience and how people wake up feeling the morning after games.

Queenslanders will agree there's one moment that remains in the forefront of most people's minds following last year's epic Game III win.

It's the moment, as the clock was ticking down to full-time, Maroons great Cameron Smith was yelling "go Dozer, go" from the commentary box. It's the moment Ben Hunt intercepted the ball and ran nearly the length of the field to seal the win for the Maroons. 

Cue Celine Dion's 'My heart will go' on for dramatic effect. It was a memorable moment. An unforgettable one, even. 

This moment has been brought to life on the corner of Ann St and Warner St in Fortitude Valley, in the lead up to the 2023 Origin series, alongside Harvey Norman Queensland Maroons star Tarryn Aiken celebrating a try against New South Wales during last year's women's Origin game.

The mural. Photo: Erick Lucero/QRL
The mural. Photo: Erick Lucero/QRL

Hunt, who hails from Dingo, a rural town in the Central Highlands region, said it was a moment that remained surreal to him.

“Geez, it was a pretty surreal moment for myself personally,” Hunt said.

“I've said many times that you always dream of playing State of Origin and playing for your state, and to have the opportunity to have such a big moment like that, it's something I definitely never dreamed of and I'll never forget.”

Hunt said all that was going through his head was “run you little bastard”.

“I can remember clear as. As soon as I caught the ball, I started running, I saw everyone just stand up, raise up in the crowd, and start cheering,” he said.

“I looked over my shoulder and saw it was Yeoy chasing me, Isaah Yeo, and I just thought 'run you little bastard, don't let him catch you'.

“So, I put the foot down and got there. Looking up I just saw the big sea of maroon, which is what made it even better, being at Suncorp Stadium. Looking up, seeing maroon jerseys going absolutely berserk… it was a pretty crazy feeling.”

Hunt said it was a moment he didn't think would ever be topped.

“To top a moment like that would be pretty hard… maybe a grand final or something… but it’s going to be pretty hard to beat it,” Hunt said, adding he never thought he would have a mural.

Ben Hunt checking out the mural. Photo: Erick Lucero/QRL
Ben Hunt checking out the mural. Photo: Erick Lucero/QRL

“I definitely didn't think I'd ever have a mural. Maybe in Dingo, but not in Brisbane.

“You see over the years some of the greats of the games getting murals. I’ve never considered myself someone who would get one of them, so it's pretty surreal and pretty special to have it up here in Brisbane. It's pretty good one, pretty happy with it... even got my broken nose and everything. It's pretty cool.”

Hunt said he was confident the Maroons could go back-to-back.

“I think the squad is going to be pretty similar to what it was last year… there's always injuries, and a couple of changes here and there, but I think the bulk will be pretty similar, so I think it's going to make for another good series and I think we've got the team to do it,” Hunt said.

“I think State of Origin will be massive this year. A massive series for both men and women.”

The mural will remain there until June 30.

Acknowledgement of Country

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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