Scans reveal St George Illawarra captain Ben Hunt played out win over Manly with broken leg

Scott Bailey and Pamela WhaleyThe West Australian
VideoNRL: The Dragons were too good for the Sea Eagles, Zac Lomax grabbing 22 points in a dominant win in Wollongong.

St George Illawarra halfback Ben Hunt is facing up to six weeks on the sidelines after scans picked up an impact fracture in his fibula.

The in-form Dragons star was injured in the first half against Manly on Friday but bravely stayed out on the field with the game in the balance.

As St George piled on the points late in the contest, Hunt was then put on ice with 10 minutes to go as his side scored a 38-12 victory.

Scans on Saturday confirmed the shock injury, with Hunt to have further consultations with specialists this week to establish a timeframe for recovery, which could range from a fortnight to six weeks.

The news came as a shock for the club after coach Anthony Griffin had on Friday night brushed off concerns of a serious injury for the halfback.

“He’s just got a really bad cork up the top of his calf. It wasn’t getting any worse,” Griffin said after the win.

“If he had to, he would have played the game out.

“But once we got to a point where we had the game closed out we got him off. He’ll be right with the nine-day turnaround.”

The injury has highlighted Hunt’s toughness just as he was reclaiming the hot form that made him one of the premier halfbacks in the game.

It is a huge blow for the Dragons who have now won back-to-back matches with Hunt steering the ship.

Hunt looks a far different player as captain to the man who was relegated to the bench at this point last season and left to play the majority of the year at hooker.

The 31-year-old has already set up six tries this year to go with one of his own against North Queensland last week.

VideoNRL: St. George Illawarra coach Anthony Griffin talks his side's round three win over the Manly Sea Eagles at WIN Stadium.

His spine are also going with him, with Hunt clearly looking at home back beside Andrew McCullough and Corey Norman under their former Brisbane coach Griffin.

“They’re all very talented,” Griffin said on Friday.

“And the nine, seven and six have a lot of games under their belt, they are really experienced.

“I am really happy with how they are starting to click, they started well tonight.”

A win next Sunday against Newcastle will give the Dragons their first run of three straight since early 2019, while they are also now in the top eight for the first time since then.

They are ahead of the likes of South Sydney and Melbourne on the ladder while equal on points with Sydney Roosters, albeit with an easier draw.

It is a far cry from the side who were labelled wooden-spoon favourites after their Charity Shield flogging from the Rabbitohs.

“(The results) are more of an indication of where we are as a team,” Griffin said.

“Against Cronulla (in round one), we played well enough to put ourselves in a position to win the game but we beat ourselves.

“The last two weeks we have been learning how to not do that.

“It’s not about critics or expectations from outside. It’s just about improving our football team every week.”

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