Halfback Ben Hunt is trying to take a lef out of Broncos great Allan Langer’s book by improving his attacking kicking game for Brisbane.
Brisbane Broncos playmaker Ben Hunt has put the onus on himself to conjure the short-kicking magic that mentor Allan Langer produced in the club’s NRL glory days.
Despite securing a morale-boosting 18-12 upset of Canterbury in Friday’s season opener, Hunt was disappointed with his sub-par kicking game at ANZ Stadium that was also criticised by Darren Lockyer in commentary.
The halfback struggled to keep the pressure on the Bulldogs with attacking cross-kicks and grubbers – plays that Broncos great Langer was renowned for in the late 1980s and `90s.
Hunt has been working closely with the former Test and Queensland No.7, who has particularly focused on how to best close out Brisbane’s sets with an effective kick.
“Alfie has been coming in doing a couple of little things with us the last couple of weeks so that has helped,” the 23-year-old said.
“He just said to keep my mind clear before I’m going to kick. So before I get the ball … just have a clear thought of what I’m doing and not be in two minds.”
The new law granting the defending team seven tackles, starting with the 20-metre restart, if the ball is kicked dead, has heightened the importance of accuracy and weight of kicks.
Hunt admitted he and new halves partner Josh Hoffman needed to improve all aspects of their general-play kicking against North Queensland in Friday night’s clash at Suncorp Stadium.
Langer confirmed there would be extra tuition in training this week.
“We’ve already had a chat,” he said. “(Hunt) has to keep practising and practising until he gets the touch and feel for his confidence.”
Hunt said the Broncos definitely have to have a good kicking game against the Cowboys.
“It wasn’t so good on the weekend. I felt and we definitely have to work on that,” he said.
Brisbane know they will get little respite at the other end of the field with Cowboys skipper Johnathan Thurston pulling the visitors’ strings.
“They have a great side and any side with Johnathan Thurston is going to be a good football team,” Hunt said. “We’ve really got to do a job on him if we want to win the game.”
The Broncos can breathe a sigh of relief that hooker Andrew McCullough is clear to play after being put on report for a careless high tackle that left Canterbury winger Mitch Brown concussed.
McCullough was slapped with a grade two charge but will only be docked 80 points with an early guilty plea and be free to play.
Back-up rake Jake Granville is applying pressure and could be a utility option on the Broncos bench after starring for Wynnum in the Queensland Cup on the weekend.