SUPER SEASON: Ben Hunt in action for the Broncos earlier this season.
SUPER SEASON: Ben Hunt in action for the Broncos earlier this season.

Halfback to cap breakout year with green and gold

BEN Hunt will make his debut in the green and gold for an exhibition match against the PNG Kumuls in Kokopo tomorrow after scooping a swag of awards, including being named the Brisbane Broncos' Best Player for 2014.

Hunt broke camp in Cairns to fly back to Brisbane for the club's gala ball and player awards before returning late last night and then jump on a connecting flight to PNG to join the Prime Minister's XIII.

His selection capped off a magnificent year where he starred in the No.7 jumper.

Hunt, who was handed the halfback role late last year by coach Anthony Griffin, had an outstanding year that included elevation to the Queensland Origin squad. He also finished in the top five in the NRL's Dally M count.

His super season was reflected in his total dominance of the Paul Morgan Medal for Player of the Year, which he topped with 75 points, and is voted on by his teammates and coaching staff.

Hunt's nearest rival, was forward Alex Glenn, who polled 48 points.

Hunt only led Matt Gillett (25 points) by two points halfway through the season, but he left everyone behind in the back half of the year.

Prop Josh McGuire, who, like Hunt, will push for a call-up to Tim Sheen's Kangaroo squad for the upcoming Four Nations series, was third on 45 points ahead of Gillett and Corey Parker next on 40.

Hunt also won the Player's Player trophy and named Best Back and was judged best player by the public in winning the XXXX Fan Player of the Year award.

He also took home a bronze horse statue after playing his 100th game this season.

McGuire was named Best Forward, Glenn won Most Consistent Player, while Ben Barba was awarded Play of the Year for a super try against the Bulldogs.

With a host of forced withdrawals, the PM's XIII clash with PNG presents fringe players, especially in the front row, an opportunity to push for a Four Nations call-up.

Sheens has lost no less than seven props through injury and suspension, including four front-rowers from this year's State of Origin series - Nate Myles (bicep), Paul Gallen (suspended), Matt Scott (shoulder) and James Tamou (neck).

Other props unavailable include David Shillington, Trent Merrin and Andrew Fifita.

It's opened the door for the likes of McGuire, young Rooster Dylan Napa, Manly's Brenton Lawrence and front-runner Aaron Woods (Wests Tigers) and Canberra's Josh Papalii along with young Bulldogs giant David Klemmer.

PNG lost last year's game by almost 50 points but is expected to be more competitive this time.

PM's XIII coach Laurie Daley has been forced to return home because of a family illness, and will be replaced by Sheens. Sheens was already with the squad in Cairns as part of his Four Nations preparations.



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