Recent retiree Josh Reynolds has urged St George Illawarra to release Ben Hunt following some hurtful comments from the halfback earlier this year.

Hunt's desire to depart Wollongong and return to Queensland has been rugby league's worst kept secret of 2023, with the lack of successes for the Red V leaving the No. 7 desperate to move to greener pastures.

The Gold Coast Titans were the short-priced favourites to secure Hunt for 2024 while Brisbane were an outside chance of securing the halfback for the remainder of this season, however the sudden-exit fizzled away.

Incoming coach Shane Flanagan has already declared the Maroons utility is going nowhere, however Reynolds says the mentor may as well getting something from the situation.

“If I'm that club, let him go,” Reynolds said.

“Flanno has won a grand final with the Sharks and now he's chasing a guy who doesn't want to be there," Reynolds said on Triple M's Footy Talk League.

"Let him go, mate. How long has this been going on for? Make sure, as a club, you don't get walked over. Get something in return.”

Hunt has played six seasons in the Red V now and re-signed just last year, however the sacking of Anthony Griffin in May has left things murky for the half's future.

While things are cloudy now, Reynolds believes what Hunt said publicly crossed a line.

“That hurts me as a teammate. It really does,” Reynolds said.

“He's your captain, your halfback and you can just hear it in the tone of his voice. He does not want to be there.

SYDNEY, AUSTRALIA - APRIL 23: Josh Reynolds of the Bulldogs runs back to the defence line as he bleeds from a cut on his cheek during the round eight NRL match between the Wests Tigers and the Canterbury Bulldogs at ANZ Stadium on April 23, 2017 in Sydney, Australia. (Photo by Mark Kolbe/Getty Images)

“As you said, he's allowed to do it but it's hard. It's hard for me to go in there, train with him and he doesn't want to be there. He doesn't want to do those extra things you've got to do during pre-season. He just doesn't look happy, you can tell, he's not happy.”

All transfer talk for Hunt is expected to be put on hold until after the Kangaroos take part in the Pacific Championship next month, the same time Flanagan will don a head coaching role since Cronulla in 2018.

Talk also emerged recently linking Jayden Brailey to the Dragons effective immediately, which could well hinge on Hunt's release.