Anthony Griffin wants to get Ben Hunt out of his comfort zone by naming him St George Illawarra captain, adamant it can bring the best out of him.
Hunt will be given significant ownership of the Dragons this season, returning to halfback under Griffin and being handed the sole leadership of the team.
The move represents a significant turn around for Hunt.
Just a year ago he was moved out of the halves and sent to the bench by Paul McGregor after the club’s highest-paid player scored just one try in the opening four rounds.
Now both the halfback and captaincy role appears to be his long term, with former skipper Cameron McInnes injured and moving to Cronulla next year.
“I think it’s a really good thing for Ben at this stage of his career because it will demand a lot of him in a number of ways,” Griffin told SEN.
“And the really good players need that. They don’t need comfort zones.
“They need to be given an opportunity to unlock your own potential particularly at his age and with the experience he’s got.
“He still got a lot left in him.”
Griffin’s show of faith in Hunt should come as no surprise.
He brought him through the grades and coached him in under-20s at Brisbane, and is one of the 30-year-old’s biggest supporters.
Hunt played just three more games in the halves after being pushed to the bench and hooker last year, and there is a school of thought he is a better footballer without the organising.
But Griffin maintains he can still be one of the best No.7s in the competition.
“I understand what he’s capable of and also know, potentially the level he can get to,” Griffin said.
“He’s got the ability to be one of the best halfbacks in the competition and he’s been that before.
“His (2015) season at Brisbane and a couple of years ago here in 2018 he had a great year.
“The club’s invested in him heavily over the last couple of years. No one more than Ben wants to repay that.”
Meanwhile Griffin said he had no regrets over his pursuit of Israel Folau before it was eventually wound up by the Dragons’ board.
“Obviously, in my opinion, he’s still a world-class player,” Griffin said.
“We went down the road with it and had some chats with the NRL.
“In the end, our board made a decision in what they thought was in the best interest of the club. And that’s where it finished and I fully supported it.”