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Penrith Panthers enter race to sign Brisbane Broncos star Ben Hunt

Disclaimer- This is from Daily Telegraph (news.com.au) so not sure how true this actually is lol

PENRITH have joined St George Illawarra in the race to secure the services of off-contract Brisbane halfback Ben Hunt.

The Daily Telegraph can reveal the Panthers are on the prowl for Hunt’s signature in a bid to bring him to the foot of the Blue Mountains from 2018.

This comes as the Dragons have reportedly ramped up preparations to table the off-contract half a multimillion-dollar contract.

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Ben Hunt makes a run at Broncos training last week. Picture: Annette Dew

Ben Hunt makes a run at Broncos training last week. Picture: Annette DewSource:News Corp Australia

Hunt has officially begun the negotiations with the Dragons and hopes to finalise his future before the start of the NRL season.

Parramatta have also been linked to the Broncos playmaker, however it is understood the Eels’ interest has waned despite having a large chunk of their salary cap freed up by Semi Radradra’s defection next year to French rugby club Toulon.

This leaves St George Illawarra and Penrith in the box seat to land Hunt if he decides to leave Brisbane.

Panthers boss Phil Gould recently weighed in on the Dragons’ reported million-dollar offer to the Brisbane No.7.

Asked by a fan on social media if Hunt was worth $1 million a year, Gould kept things in perspective.

Regardless of Penrith and St George Illawarra’s interest in Hunt, both clubs face a fight to lure him away from Brisbane.

It’s understood the Broncos want to retain the halfback, who made his debut at the club in 2009.

Hunt’s possible arrival at St George Illawarra follows news star fullback Josh Dugan is looking to fast-track talks for a new long-term deal at the club.

Ben Hunt celebrates a try with Tom Opacic for the Broncos last year. Picture: Getty Images

Ben Hunt celebrates a try with Tom Opacic for the Broncos last year. Picture: Getty ImagesSource:Getty Images

Dugan wants to have his future sorted before round one — which kicks off on March 2 — so the Dragons have only seven weeks to come to an agreement. The 26-year-old former Raider is into his second week of pre-season training after a break following a successful Four Nations tournament with the Kangaroos.

“Yeah, my manager started talks with the club (Wednesday),” Dugan told foxsports.com.au.

“I’m looking to get something sorted before the season starts, I don’t want anything hanging over my head going into the season. I want to be able to focus on playing good footy for the club and hopefully the rest falls into place.”

Ben Hunt gets some air at Brisbane training. Picture: Liam Kidston

Ben Hunt gets some air at Brisbane training. Picture: Liam KidstonSource:News Corp Australia

Dugan believes his next contract is the most important of his career, which is why he’s eyeing a three-to-five-year extension.

“My thinking is I’ve probably only got one big contract left in me,” he said.

“I’m 27 this year, my thinking is I want to be playing some good footy for the rest of my career, but I think this is my last big contract — the age starts kicking in and the numbers start going down.

“Anything from three to five (years) I think, and then we’ll see what happens at the end of that one.”

Star five-eighth Gareth Widdop is also off contract at St George Illawarra and keen to remain in Wollongong by re-signing a new deal in the near future.

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It's a tough one. Ben hunt is a solid player but I don't think the Eels are going to offer the type of money he wants as I think other clubs will pay overs.

He's a player that has a bit of bad mojo around him with that Grand Final knock on.

That's the type of play that I really don't want to see an Eels player make. I've seen enough.

He's getting a bit old.

I think there are some younger halves we could be looking at

Penrith can have him. We can take cleary lol. This is a gee up.
Cleary a gee up!!!!
Its a gee up, im still hearing we are on the verge of getting a big name player

Phil Gould has just issued a statement denying they are in the race for Hunt.

http://www.adelaidenow.com.au/sport/nrl/nrl-2017-penrith-panthers-n...

Didn't think it was true when I was reading it, was thinking why would they go for him when they have 2 up and coming halves that are as good already lol

give a rookie a chance.
I've seen this all before. seasoned star halfback purchases do not work out for us.
Yeah it was a total disaster for the Cowboys
Which seasoned halfback did the Cowbous sign?

Thurston was a star for sure Hammy. Although even with him it still took them over 10 years to get a title, and even then they only got it coz Hunt dropped the ball.

How ironic!

Guthbus all the way baby!!!!!!!!

He was a player with potential. He'd only played a handful of games. Different situation than with Hunt. Mac said seasoned halfback, I don't think with 29 games in his belt you could call JT seasoned.
Ham, I know JT wasn't exactly a star when the Cowboys signed him, and had the Bulldogs known he was going to become the player he has they wouldn't have let him go, but he wasn't an unknown either.

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