WOLLONGONG, AUSTRALIA - APRIL 13: Ben Hunt of the Dragons runs the ball during the round six NRL match between the St George Illawarra Dragons and the Cronulla Sharks at WIN Stadium on April 13, 2018 in Wollongong, Australia. (Photo by Brett Hemmings/Getty Images)

St George Illawarra Dragons captain Ben Hunt is a free agent from November 1, but has revealed one key factor could keep him at the Red V.

It has been widely reported that the Dragons have already started negotiations with the Queensland Maroons State of Origin star, who is off-contract at the end of the 2023 season.

A highly-chased signature, Hunt is among the favourites for this year's Dally M Medal after a stunning display of form which has kept the Dragons in with a chance of playing finals football.

The club are under the pump though given they do sit outside the eight and have suffered some horror losses in recent weeks.

Despite most of that pressure falling on coach Anthony Griffin to turn things around with calls for his job to roll growing louder, Hunt said that Griffin being re-signed beyond the end of 2023 could play a part in him choosing to stay around at the joint venture.

"That definitely does factor into my decision," Hunt told the media on Thursday after Dragons' training.

"I'm pretty hopeful I'm going to get my decision made before they decide on another coach here.

"There is no secret I like Hook and as long as he is the coach here, that is probably something that is going to keep me at the club."

NRL Rd 1 - Dragons v Sharks

Hunt and Griffin have a long history together, with Hunt playing under the coach at the Brisbane Broncos before his eventual shift to Wollongong on a mega contract ahead of the 2018 season.

Hunt will play his 100th game for the Red V - and 287th in total - on Sunday against the Canberra Raiders and his experience has been a driving factor for the Dragons at both ends of the park this season.

Despite that, it's the future of the club which has been the biggest cause for concern in recent times, with Jayden Sullivan struggling to find any game time after being overtaken by Talatau Amone, who has played alongside Hunt in the halves.

The regression of Tyrell Sloan has also been a cause for concern under the coaching of Griffin, who has a club option taken up in his contract for 2023 before a ball was kicked this season, despite a dismal end to 2021 which saw the Dragons narrowly avoid the bottom four.

The Red V currently sit in 11th spot, four points out of the finals with just four games to play, but a for and against differential of 237 points to the eighth-placed Sydney Roosters has confirm3ed that, even with results going their way, chances of playing finals are all but extinguished.

The Dragons play the Raiders, Titans, Tigers and Broncos during the final four weeks of the season.


  1. If the condition of Ben Hunt is staying is to keep Griffin, I’d rather Hunt left. Team is diabolical under Griffin, worse than under McGregor. Hunt is the only person playing better now, Lomax has had a spectacular fall from Grace and it’s no secret he doesn’t think much of Griffin.

    If Griffin stays next year then that’s another season written off. The board has to go too. Ryan Webb has turned out to be less than useless for the club.

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