Ben Hunt makes key demand of Dragons amid Anthony Griffin saga

Dragons halfback Ben Hunt has made a massive demand of the club amid speculation swirling around coach Anthony Griffin.

Ben Hunt and Anthony Griffin.

Dragons skipper Ben Hunt wants to be kept abreast of St George Illawarra's decision-making on under-seige coach Anthony Griffin, after winning just two of the club's first five matches to start the season. Hunt has been a staunch defender of the veteran coach, but it is widely expected within NRL circles that the Dragons' performance in the next four weeks will make or break Griffin's case to keep his job.

Up against the Raiders, Roosters, Bulldogs and Tigers across the next four weeks, the Dragons should have plenty of opportunity against opposition largely considered to be playing roughly at their level - with the exception of the 3-2 Roosters. However this has narrowed Griffin's margin for error, with a loss to the Wests Tigers unlikely to go down well.

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However for the time being, Hunt has thrown his support behind the beleaguered Griffin, who coached him in under-20s and later at the Brisbane Broncos. The pair reunited when Griffin was brought on as coach for the 2021 NRL season.

However that move has thus far failed to yield the results Dragons fans had been hoping for, with the out-of-contract Griffin potentially at risk of not seeing out the rest of the season. However in a show of loyalty to his longtime mentor, Hunt has demanded the Dragons keep him informed at every turn as to what their thinking is regarding Griffin's future.

Hunt says he hasn't been consulted by the Dragons board to date to discuss the coach's outlook. The star halfback signed a contract extension in October last year which will see him remain in the red and white until 2025.

"It's something I would have thought you would be involved in," Hunt told AAP. "As a captain and leader of the club, you would like to be approached about it. I am sure I will be though.

"Not just myself, but a number of senior players. You would think that the players that are out on the field would have some sort of say in it. Obviously it's not totally up to us, but you would think they would want your opinion on things."

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Hunt had cautioned the Dragons against making making a rash decision to sack Griffin back in February, urging the club to give the veteran coach the best chance of making an impact on the 2023 season. However early returns have been far from convincing, with two wins and three losses to start their campaign.

Heading into round seven, the Dragons only have a round one victory over the Gold Coast Titans and a stirring victory over newcomers the Dolphins to their names this season. Hunt said he wasn't going to put any pressure on club officials, but hoped they would seek him out to discuss the club's future at some point.

"I will wait for them to come to me. I understand that is their job to do all that stuff," Hunt said. "I am pretty sure they know how I feel about it, it's no secret.

"It's not just about me, I think you want to get a good group of the whole playing group, because I am sure everyone has different opinions."

Ben Hunt stands in the middle of several Dragons teammates.
The Dragons have endured a spate of brutal losses, including in round six against the Titans. (Photo by Chris Hyde/Getty Images)

Hunt also admitted he had been taking losses harder with the pressure on Griffin after two years out of the finals and a 2-3 record to start the year.

"It definitely made it harder for me, personally," Hunt said. "I don't want change. I feel like we are going in the right direction. Those couple of losses like that definitely hurt.

"I have known from the start of the season how our first ten rounds go will determine it. But I am just focused on each week. In my head I know if we win more games it will take care of itself."

With AAP

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