WHEN the late Cyril Connell first laid eyes on Ben Hunt, he knew the boy from Dingo would play for the Broncos one day.
"We had Ben at a Broncos camp at Yeppoon earlier this year and we rated him one of the highest, even amongst the older kids," the legendary Broncos talent scout told The Morning Bulletin back in April, 2003.
A 13-year-old Hunt was Page 3 news in The Bully on Wednesday, April 16, almost nine years ago after becoming the youngest recipient of a Broncos scholarship at that time.
The Bully yesterday caught up with Hunt, who will saddle up for the Broncos in their NRL season-opener against Parramatta on Friday night.
Hunt, who turns 22 next month, still has fond memories of his regular chats with Connell before his passing in June, 2009.
"I remember when I first met Cyril in under-12s out at Blackwater," the Blackwater Crushers junior said.
"He'd used to pick me up at the airport in Brisbane when I went down there for camps.
"He'd always say to me, 'Everyone's got talent, but you've got to work hard'."
Hunt will come off the bench for the Broncos on Friday night after he was pipped by youngster Corey Norman to replace Darren Lockyer in his famous No.6 jersey.
"Corey's got the start now but hopefully I can force myself into the side.
"It's a long year with injuries and during the Origin period," said Hunt, who has enjoyed his best pre-season since arriving at Red Hill fresh out of school from St Brendan's College in Yeppoon.
"I'm definitely looking forward to having a big year and hopefully cementing myself in the starting team for a few games."
Hunt's family still calls CQ home.
Mum, De-Ann, owns Expressions of Beauty in James St, Yeppoon, while dad, Geoff, works at Blackwater's BMA mine.
Geoff was a talented rugby league player in his own right, donning a Capras jersey in the early-1980s.
Ironically, Geoff was offered a deal to head south to play for Ben's round-one opponents, Parramatta, but stayed to do his apprenticeship at the mines.
On the Hunt
- Born: March 27, 1990
- Height: 178cm
- Weight: 91kg
- Position: Half, hooker
- Junior club: Blackwater Crushers
- NRL debut: Broncos v Sharks, Toyota Stadium, June 22, 2009 (Rd 15)
- Did you know: Ben was the inaugural Dally M Toyota Cup Under-20s player of the year