The wife of under-fire Dragons halfback Ben Hunt has taken to social media with a scathing message for his critics.
Brought to St George Illawarra on a lengthy $6 million deal at the start of the year, Hunt’s form has largely represented that of the Dragons.
He was the NRL’s best half while the Dragons were ladder-leaders in the opening half of the season, before he endured a difficult State of Origin campaign for Queensland and his performances have since suffered.
Never has the criticism been more scathing than this week after he failed to make a single run after five-eighth Gareth Widdop was injured in Saturday’s 40-4 flogging to last placed Parramatta.
And now his wife has snapped.
“You know what I’m sick to death of?? I’ve sat in silence for long enough not buying into it, but I’ve had a gut full (sic),” Bridget Hunt reportedly wrote on Instagram on Wednesday.
“All of you people who work in the media and constantly bash the s*** out of players for their performances should be ashamed of yourself.
“You know what the number 1 killer of men between the age of 15-44 is? It’s suicide! And no wonder, the amount of bullying these people cause other people is despicable.
“Words have meaning! You may not think they affect the person, but they have meaning!
“It’s funny, that Ben is apparently being blamed for the Dragons’ performances of late, but it’s funny, last time I checked it’s his first year at the Dragons, and this has happened three years in a row.
“And it’s funny that there’s 17 people in a whole side, yet it’s all his fault!
“Players make errors when they are loosing (sic), and players make errors when they are winning too! Rugby league should not be condoning this culture!
“You would hate it if someone was talking to your children or parents that way, so why is it okay to do so in the game they play? It’s bullying & it’s not okay!
“We are just lucky that Ben is resilient and doesn’t get affected by this sort of stuff, but the story may go a different way for someone else.”
But after having been put through the wringer and battling for his No.7 jersey at the Broncos, Hunt said the pressure now wasn’t such a big deal.
“I personally feel like there has been more spotlight when I was in Brisbane,” Hunt said.
“Being a one-club town all the media up there is all just focused on the one team. You’re sort of in the middle of it.
“Being down here it feels a bit more laid back with the spotlight. You get a little bit, but I feel like Brisbane is a lot more.
“I’ve always felt like I was pretty good at handling the pressure, and I always felt there was more pressure in Brisbane than down here.”
The 28-year-old says he’s ready to step up in the absence of Gareth Widdop, who is expected to miss at least three weeks with a shoulder injury.
With the lesser experienced Kurt Mann named alongside Hunt for Sunday’s clash with the Wests Tigers – he’ll haver to.
The pair have mostly only trained in the halves together during the pre-season, but now have just six days to prepare for one of the most important games of the Dragons’ season.
“It’s a big blow to the side with how good of a player Gareth is,” Hunt said.
“But it’s a bit of a challenge for myself personally – I’ve got to lead the team around a bit more now and step my game up a bit.”