Ben Hunt has starred for Queensland in the No.9 jersey.
Ben Hunt has starred for Queensland in the No.9 jersey. Bradley Kanaris

Hunt leaves 'savage' trolls in the past

IT'S hard to find Ben Hunt on social media these days, aside from Messenger and WhatsApp group chats, he's off it completely.

Ahead of the biggest game of his Queensland career, the Maroons makeshift No.9 has revealed how deleting social media has given him a mental edge to take down the Blues.

Hunt admitted there were times the "savage" online trolls got the better of him, but now, about to play his seventh Origin, that he is comfortable at this high-stakes level.

"Towards the back end of last year, I didn't think it was but I guess it was creeping into my head a bit. I talked to some people, my family and wife, and yeah, it was consciously there," Hunt said.

"It never used to affect me at all, something I'd always let blow by me. I was fine with it. But I just decided I wasn't getting any benefit out of it.

"The first few weeks were, you know, not hard but you want to get back on and have a look. Now I don't think about it. It's not part of my life.

"I don't know if I'll ever get back on it. Maybe when I retire but at the moment I am happy not being a part of it. There's pretty savage stuff out there, I might stay off it."

Hunt is three shy of 100 tackles for the series, all while playing an unnatural position but he says for the first time, he truly belongs at this level.

Dale Finucane of the Blues is tackled by Felise Kaufusi, Ben Hunt and Josh Mcguire of the Maroons during Game 2 of the 2019 State of Origin series between the Queensland Maroons and the New South Wales Blues at Optus Stadium in Perth, Sunday, June 23, 2019. (AAP Image/Dan Himbrechts) NO ARCHIVING, EDITORIAL USE ONLY
Hunt's defence in the middle has been strong. DAN HIMBRECHTS

The 29-year-old Central Queensland product has vowed to run the ball more in game three, and not "wait for an opportunity" that may not come.

"After game one, looking back I feel like I can do a job that's not out of my depth and that I do belong here," he said.

"I don't mind playing middle. It's a lot simpler. Playing halfback there's a lot more organising and thinking, planning ahead to do. Whereas nine is just hard work and ripping in.

"It's not a weight off my shoulders but it frees me up to concentrate on myself rather than everyone around me.

BRISBANE, AUSTRALIA - JULY 04: Ben Hunt passes the ball during a Queensland Maroons State of Origin training session at Langlands Park on July 04, 2019 in Brisbane, Australia. (Photo by Bradley Kanaris/Getty Images)
Hunt is happy playing in the middle for the Maroons. Bradley Kanaris

"But I need to offer a lot more in attack than in game two. At times I sat and waited for opportunities and the next thing I knew the game was over. I was waiting for a quick play-the-ball or a marker down, but they weren't coming.

"It's a lot harder than just run, but if I get out of dummyhalf the rest of the team can push up with me and make something happen."