SYDNEY, AUSTRALIA - SEPTEMBER 15: Ben Hunt (L) of the Dragons celebrates with Zac Lomax (R) after scoring a try during the NRL Semi Final match between the South Sydney Rabbitohs and the St George Illawarra Dragons at ANZ Stadium on September 15, 2018 in Sydney, Australia. (Photo by Matt King/Getty Images)

The St George Illawarra Dragons are currently in the midst of contract negotiations with star half Ben Hunt – but according to reports, their latest offer has fallen well short of expectation.

Channel 9’s Danny Weidler revealed on 100% Footy this week that while initial reports claimed the club had offered Hunt an extension worth approximately $850,000 per year, that suggestion was way off the mark, with the club ‘low-balling’ Hunt with an offer in the vicinity of $700,000.

“I think the club are of the opinion that he’ll stay because of his love for coach Anthony Griffin,” Weidler said.

“He’s made it quite clear he wants to play under Griffin, but the $700,000 offer I don’t think will sit well with his management.”

Hunt has already stated in recent weeks that his preference is to stay at the Dragons - but he’s still open to other offers, including a possible return to Queensland to join Wayne Bennett at the Dolphins.

Those offers are likely to come streaming in now as other clubs try to seize on any potential uncertainty created by the Red V’s offer.

“At least four or five clubs will be hearing this news thinking ‘okay, we can have a crack now’. There aren’t a lot of fantastic halfbacks out there and $700,000 is a bargain," Weidler said.

“He’s been very consistent, he’s in the running for the Dally M, I think the Dragons should be paying more.”

“People have criticised him saying he’s been on big money for a long time and he has… but I think he’s earned it over the last three years. The Dragons are kidding themselves if they think (that offer) will keep him there.”

Hunt has previously said he admires the direction and potential of the club, and the recent extension of Talatau Amone’s contract has been seen as a positive move.

“I can definitely see myself finishing (at the Dragons),” Hunt told Fox Sports a month ago.

“I’m enjoying myself at the club, I’m enjoying being coached by (Griffin) and there’s a good bunch of fellas. The club is heading in the right direction.

“The priority is to get the Dragons to keep building.”

Phil Gould agreed with Weidler’s assessment of the deal, claiming the Dragons can’t afford to lose their best player if they want to keep building.

“My impression was he’d asked for $850-875,000, which is not unreasonable in the current market,” Gould said.

“Given his status in that team – they struggle without him and he carries them every week – I don’t think they can afford to do without him.

“There are only so many really good game-managing halfbacks at the moment, you’d pay him that for sure.”

1 COMMENT

  1. I love Ben Hunt, but if his condition to stay is Griffin also stays, then I’d prefer he went elsewhere and Jayden Sullivan becomes half-back. We cannot continue for another 3 years with that no-hoper Griffin. Tell me again why we got rid of McGregor?

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