Hunt explains that ‘dumb’ grubber kick
BESIEGED Maroons halfback Ben Hunt has appealed for a shot at redemption in Origin III despite admitting he let Queensland down with their famous dynasty on the line.
Hunt has copped brickbats for his Origin II display, with legendary Maroons playmaker Johnathan Thurston delivering a savage assessment of the embattled No.7 in the wake of Queensland's 18-14 defeat at ANZ Stadium.
Aside from taking out Boyd Cordner, which gave the Blues a penalty try, Hunt's option-taking came under fire, most notably 10 minutes from full-time when a grubber kick on the third tackle went sailing over the dead-ball line.
Commentating on Origin II for Channel 9, Thurston lashed Hunt, labelling it a "brain explosion" which demonstrated the "dumb football" executed by Queensland's spine in the clutch minutes.
Hunt concedes he didn't handle the championship minutes well, but is adamant he is an Origin-quality playmaker and is determined to atone for failing the Maroons as their dynasty collapsed.
"It is my job to get us over the line and I could not do it," a shattered Hunt said after the gut-wrenching defeat.
"I was happy with my start, but to be honest in that last 15 to 20 minutes, I could have offered a bit more and taken some better options.
"Everything happens a lot quicker at Origin and it's up to me to make those decisions on the fly.
"I didn't do that. I thought I let us down when it mattered at the back end.
"I hope I get another chance. It's up to 'Kevvie' (coach Kevin Walters) and what the selectors want to do, but I want to do a job for Queensland and I feel I'm up to it.
"I've had a taste of Origin and I know what to expect … I feel I can handle this level."
Hunt explained his decision to kick on the third tackle attacking NSW's left edge when the Blues' right edge had been eroded by the sin-binning of James Roberts.
With Queensland sensation Kalyn Ponga waiting for a pass to ignite a deep backline, Hunt was left to rue his poorly-executed grubber.
"I tried a grubber because I knew they had a player in the sin bin and I wanted to keep NSW pinned down there and build pressure on them," he said.
"I thought I could turn the screws on them by putting it in goal but I kicked it too hard. That was frustrating."
Hunt also lamented giving away a penalty try - in almost the exact position where he dropped the kick-off that led to the Cowboys' 2015 grand final defeat of his former club the Broncos.
"I wasn't sure whether they would award a penalty try," he said. "I just stood my ground. I thought I may have got sent to the sin bin … I would have preferred that."
Walters will come under pressure to axe Hunt but straight after the loss, he indicated he would stick with the halfback for the Suncorp dead-rubber.
"I won't make any decisions right now but I expect he would be there (for Origin III). I don't see any reason why he wouldn't be," he said.
"Everyone kicks balls dead.
"It was unfortunate in that time of the game. I won't blame Ben for the loss. We love what he brings and he had a strong game."