Origin: Thurston unconfident in rookie half-back partner

Queensland stand-off Johnathan Thurston has described the prospect of rookie Ben Hunt filling in at scrum-half for the injured Cooper Cronk and Daly Cherry-Evans as “not ideal”.

First-choice number seven Cronk (broken arm) is unlikely to play another part in this Origin series while understudy Cherry-Evans (knee) has a chance of making the second test but admitted he wasn’t confident of doing so.

That paves the way for 24-year-old Hunt, who is in stunning form for Brisbane Broncos after guiding them to a convincing win over Canberra Raiders yesterday.

Thurston said: “Obviously it wouldn’t be ideal but they are the cards we have been dealt.”


The Kangaroos stand-off isn’t doubting Hunt’s ability – he’s simply worried that they won’t have enough time to teach him their moves and structures ahead of next week’s second test. The reigning Golden Boot winner was hoping Cherry-Evans would be able to prove his fitness last-minute.

“It’s a fine line,” he said.

“Daly knows our structures and the plays. It would be nice to have him there for training. Hopefully Daly can get a full week on the paddock under his belt.

“I am confident of Benny coming in and doing the job. His kicking game has been great this year. I have no problem playing with him in the halves if need be.

“He just needs to do his job. We don’t need him to do anything too outstanding.”

Hunt said: “I am still trying to get my head around it. Talking to the boys at camp I am pinching myself.

“And playing alongside Johnathan Thurston and some of the best players in the world would be a dream come true. I am not too sure yet of my chances. If they pick me, hopefully I am ready.”

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