Halfback Ben Hunt never wanted to leave Brisbane - but he is sure glad he did.
New Queensland No.7 Hunt says he has the confidence to step up and make the Maroons "his team" in next week's State of Origin opener thanks to a lucrative move to NRL club St George Illawarra this year.
Hunt is a step closer to filling the big shoes left by retired No.7 Cooper Cronk after training strongly in a thigh guard at Queensland's Gold Coast training session on Friday.
Maroons concerns Hunt (thigh), fullback Billy Slater (hamstring) and lock Josh McGuire (ankle) are set to receive the official all clear for Wednesday's Origin I at the MCG after running freely on Friday.
Long-serving Bronco Hunt's decision to sign with the Dragons appeared a no-brainer after they offered him a five-year, $6 million deal.
But Hunt said he was reluctant to sever his eight-year Broncos stint despite admitting it had at times tested his self belief.
"I never really wanted to leave the Broncos when it comes down to it," Hunt said.
"But I was excited about it as well, a new challenge.
"I had been here a long time and it was a change I thought could spark my game and take me to another level and I feel like it has done that."
Hunt arrived at the Dragons after enduring a rollercoaster Broncos ride.
Making his debut in 2009, Hunt's fluctuating Brisbane fortunes were best summed up last year when he was relegated to Queensland Cup in June, only to make his Origin debut off the bench a month later.
Asked if there were times his Broncos stint tested his self belief, Hunt said: "There definitely has been.
"There have been some up and down stages in my career.
"I played Queensland Cup last year so there have been some down stages there but you have to get back to trying to enjoy your footy.
"And when people start believing in you, you start to get confidence."
Hunt said he felt ready to answer coach Kevin Walters' challenge and make the Maroons "his team".
"I do, it (take control) is the role of the halfback these days," he said.
"It's been something I have been developing in my game for a few years now.
"I am grateful Kevvie believes in me and has given me an opportunity to do it - I will work hard this week to get it done."
Queensland prop Jarrod Wallace was adamant Hunt would overcome injury and combine with Cameron Munster in the Maroons halves on Wednesday.
"Ben Hunt will play," he said.
"I can tell you now he would have a broken leg and still go out and play.
"It's just a cork."