‘He’s doing everything for them’: Gold Coast Titans coach praises Ben Hunt

Gold Coast Titans manager Justin Holbrook has given special praise to Ben Hunt, stressing his young halves still have plenty of improvement as the club look to claim back-to-back wins for the first time all season.

“Your biggest threat is Ben Hunt. He played fantastic and did everything for them,” said Holbrook when discussing the problems the St. George-Illawarra Dragons pose for his team.

Hunt was in the best form of his career this year, with the No. 7 topping the Dally M medal list when voting took place behind closed doors. The 32-year-old also had an impressive State of Origin streak, memorably capped with the match-sealing try in the decider.

“The halves always have a big impact. It’s the old story – the forwards lay the platform and the halves control the game,” Holbrook said.

“The way Ben Hunt and [Talatau] Play Amone – he is so lively with the ball – they are very dangerous.”

But while Anthony Griffin has been able to field the same halves for most of the season, the Titans have found that to be a problem area for them.

They released their former captain and halfback Jamal Fogarty, who has come back to pursue them, with a lack of control at key moments costing them dearly.

However, Holbrook believes his recent pairing of AJ Brimson and Tanah Boyd is effective despite the imminent arrival of Kieran Foran and could be the long-term solution at the club.

“I was very happy with how Tanah ran with us last week and of course with AJ. We need them to play really well again,” said Holbrook.

The Titans coach explained that Boyd is in the mix to become the long-term halfback for the team thanks to his improved defense efforts and calm approach in offense.

“He’s been playing NRL for a couple of years. He was a bit frantic when he came through so his time in 9th place really put his mind at ease,” said Holbrook.

Boyd’s inclusion in the halves, however, has edged out young savage Toby Sexton, whose future on the Gold Coast is now in doubt.

“I had a good chat with him yesterday, he’s quite keen to have a game [in reserve grade] Well, which is good,” Holbrook said.

“I’ve been open with him and I think we agreed that he needs a break. We gave him some rest and he is happy with it. But he’s pretty keen on playing football again so those are good signs.”

The Titans coach acknowledged it had been a lazy 2022 season after reaching the finals the previous year. They have only won four games and are fighting for the wooden spoon with the Wests Tigers.

“It’s been a tough time so it’s going to be nice to bounce back a bit now,” said Holbrook.

The manager then joked how much happier the week had been after suffering a 10-game losing streak against Manly last weekend.

“Everything is better,” laughed Holbrook.

“I came home and the dogs were wagging their tails. So, big difference, instead of running and hiding.”

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