St George Illawarra Dragons captain Cameron McInnes has offered an insight into how the positional change to shift Ben Hunt to hooker has unlocked the side after a slow start to the year.
After being benched earlier in the season due to inconsistent performances in the halfback role, Hunt has thrived in the No.9 jersey, with McInnes, the team’s usual hooker being moved into the lock position.
St George Illawarra has sprung to life after a 0-4 start to the season, with the latest outing seeing the Dragons record an impressive 34-4 win over Manly.
Speaking to Nine’s 100% Footy, McInnes explained how having a more offensive-minded No.9 like Hunt has allowed the Dragons to take advantage of rule changes which have seen the game speed up this season.
“Any movement around the ruck and leg-speed and things like that are pretty important,” he said.
“Being able to have a ball-player, and I’m trying to add that to my game, we haven’t had that in the middle so it helps as well.
“With my game, we were probably seeing more of a defensive player (at No.9), so getting Hunty in there, he’s a bit more creative and I can still do my work.
“Being a hooker, I can see what Hunty is seeing (and) when he wants to take off, I’ll be there with him.”
McInnes admitted that Hunt was enjoying his football more in the No.9 jersey, explaining how getting away from the pressure that comes in the halves has been key.
“He is more relaxed and enjoying it a lot more, I don’t know if that coincides with the way that we’re all playing with him as well,” he said.
“I’ve not played there myself, but in the halves there is a lot of pressure on them and as a team we weren’t playing well around him or Corey (Norman) or (Adam Clune).
“He’s a Queensland hooker, so he is a natural hooker and he’s very good at it.
“He’s enjoying it and for me, that’s the most important thing, he’s enjoying his footy and playing well.”