Ben Hunt had never let the negativity get to him until this year, revealing it got so bad he had to see a psychologist.
St George Illawarra are still alive in the NRL premiership race after Hunt inspired them to a rousing upset of Brisbane in week one of the finals and are aiming to do the same against South Sydney on Saturday.
Hunt’s turnaround against his former side was representative of the Dragons.
For the past few months he has been a scapegoat for the side’s woes and battered from pillar to post.
He has always been an easy target ever since his dropped ball during golden point time of the 2015 grand final.
He also had a difficult State of Origin after he was relegated to the Queensland bench for game three this year.
And he had the finger pointed at him during the Dragon’s post-Origin slump and all of a sudden was finding it hard to let go of his mistakes.
His wife Bridget urged him to seek help from a psychologist, who he credits for turning around his season.
“I don’t usually sit around and dwell on things and think things over but I found myself doing that a lot, I just couldn’t move on from stuff,” Hunt said.
“It was something I just started doing the last couple of months … I just couldn’t stop thinking about negative things. It was about letting that pass and living in the present.”
Hunt is facing another big hurdle against the Rabbitohs with playmaking partner Gareth Widdop to miss Saturday’s do-or-die clash with a shoulder injury.
Kurt Mann once again steps into the starting side.
Mann has played all 25 of the Dragons’ games this year and worn the No.6 jersey in three of their last four matches, however most of the focus to direct the side will fall on Hunt.
“I definitely have to take more control,” Hunt said.
“I’ve been doing most of the kicking but I think I’ll take a bit more of the kicking this week and really direct the boys around the park.
“And if Kurt sees an opportunity, I want him to take it.”
Josh Dugan breaks down in extraordinary press conference
Sharks star Josh Dugan has broken down in his first interview since he came under fire for criticising a News Corp journalist.
Speaking after yet another tumultuous period in his career, the former NSW Origin star was clearly rattled by the negative press he’s been receiving.
First, Dugan refused to answer a question about the podcast which saw Andrew Fifita and himself reprimanded for abusing News Corp journalist Buzz Rothfield.
“I’ve got nothing to say about it,” Dugan said.
From there, the physical centre went into detail about why he didn’t want to cooperate with the media, calling himself an easy target – ever since getting fired by the Raiders in 2013 following a string of off-field incidents.
“I’ve been an easy target since 2013 and I can’t see that changing,” Dugan said.
“That’s when I got sacked from Canberra, everyone’s going to have that opinion of me every since then, it’s never gonna change.
“Doesn’t matter how much stuff I do outside of footy, I raised over 15 grand for a young boy not that long ago, visited him in hospital, you don’t hear about that.
“It’s only the bad stuff for me, I’m used to it.”