Hunt willing to take pay cut to save the NRL
He's the man on the most polarising contract in the NRL and now St George Illawarra's Ben Hunt has put his hand up to take a pay cut.
The half-back's offer comes as he warns his side is just two weeks away from missing another finals series ahead of the Dragons' season restart against the Warriors on May 30.
Hunt signed a $1.2 million-a-season deal with the Dragons in 2018 that will keep at the club until at least the end of the 2022 season.
But the playmaker, whose price tag has placed immense scrutiny on him, said he would be willing to take home less pay if it ensured the viability of the game.
"If that's what needs to happen to keep the game going, then I'm more than happy to [take a cut] and I'm sure most guys are more than happy too. It is going to hurt a lot of people and no one wants to take a pay cut ever, you signed a contract and that's what you want but at the end of the day you take a pay cut or the game doesn't go ahead … I know what I will be doing," Hunt said.
"If the money is not there then how is the game going to survive? I guess they can't keep paying us something if there is no money coming. I want to keep the game going, I enjoy playing this game and it has been great to me."
But Hunt won't be the only one at the Red V feeling the pressure the competition returns.
Dragons coach Paul McGregor must turn his side's fortunes around after starting the season with two straight losses back in March.
The poor start only compounds the pressure McGregor after his side finished 15th last season.
Hunt has warned the Dragons could be headed for more finals misery if they can't beat the Warriors and Canterbury in their two games back.
"There is definitely a lot of pressure. Any team that has started 0-2, the pressure is on them," Hunt said.
"We have to come out and perform straight away, that's it. If we come out and lose the first two then we are 0-4 and a long shot of making the finals with a shortened competition."
Meanwhile, Warriors coach Stephen Kearney is facing an injury crisis with forwards Leeson Ah Mau (pectoral) and Jazz Tevaga (knee) facing lengthy stints on the sideline. The NRL has rejected the Warriors bid to bring in another into their camp in Tamworth on loan from another club.
Dragons forward Tariq Sims said while a loan arrangement is a chance for a player to "cut their teeth in the NRL", it posed a potential danger to the team's harmony.
"Their injury list is horrific actually but how you navigate that … both parties have to be happy with it. You can't send a player that doesn't want to go there, I think that would be toxic and poisonous for the Warriors camp if they were to receive a player that had a bad attitude about going there."
Originally published as Hunt willing to take pay cut to save the NRL