Hunt defends Norman after street fight
New St George Illawarra skipper Ben Hunt says a proposed two-game suspension to teammate Corey Norman for his involvement in a street fight is “tough” and ”harsh” as Norman looks to fight the ban.
Norman and former Brisbane hooker James Segeyaro were involved in an altercation last month after the pair claim they were racially abused.
The duo had been on a date with two females when they claim they were threatened and racially attacked by members of the public.
The NRL issued Norman with a breach notice last Saturday, proposing a two-match suspension for bringing the game into disrepute with one-match suspended.
The breach notice means the playmaker would be rubbed out for the Dragons round one clash against arch rivals Cronulla at Jubilee Oval on Sunday, March 14.
Dragons playmaker Corey Norman and former Panther James Segeyaro have claimed racial abuse led to a Friday night brawl under NRL investigation. Picture: Supplied.Source:Supplied
Norman, though, wants to fight his name after consulting with the Rugby League Players Association over the weekend.
Hunt agrees that his Dragons teammate and travel buddy to training has been unfairly treated.
“I drive down to training every day with Corey, and when it (the fight) first happened, I didn’t hear about it until we got in the car that morning to come to training,” Hunt said.
“He told me the whole story and I thought it was a bit full on, but when the finding came down from the NRL I just thought it was a bit harsh.
“I think they are going to challenge what was handed down from what I know, but I think it is pretty tough personally.
“The way I see it is that Corey was standing up for a mate.
“What is he meant to do in that situation? Stand back and cop it?
“It is one that I’ll leave to the club and the NRL to sort out, but from my point of view it is a bit harsh.”
Hunt hopes Norman is cleared so they can form a potent combination in the halves together.
He believes the pair are primed for big seasons at the Dragons.
“It has been going great through the pre-season,” he said.
“It will put it back (if he is suspended) and it definitely hurts.
“If it is the case that we don’t have him, we’ll just have to move on and put our best side out there.”
Ben Hunt has revealed how he faced sleepless nights before accepting the St George Illawarra captaincy from coach Anthony Griffin. Photo: Hanna Lassen/Getty Images.Source:Supplied
Hunt also revealed how he faced sleepless nights before accepting the St George Illawarra captaincy from coach Anthony Griffin.
He doubted he could be a leader at the Dragons, but a deep conversation with Griffin convinced him to take on the role.
Now the Queensland Origin representative is ready to focus on more than “himself” in a bid to take his game to another level.
“When Hook asked me to be captain, I was a little bit surprised and I didn’t really know what to make of it,” he said.
“He said take a few days and have a think about it. I had a couple of days there where I couldn’t get to sleep at night.
“But it is a massive honour. It is a special club with a lot of history, so to be named captain I’m grateful and I’m feeling honoured.”
Hunt conceded he used to focus on himself and what he needed to get right every week.
“But after talking to Hook, I need to think a bit bigger than that and start helping a few other boys out,” he said.
“I still need to be good myself. I think that still must be my main priority and I must perform every week.
“If I can do that, then I think I’m doing my part as a captain and for the team.”
Hunt knows replacing Cronulla-bound captain Cameron McInnes won’t be easy, but he has vowed to do his best.
McInnes is expected to miss the season after rupturing his ACL during pre-season training.
Hunt is devastated for his ex-skipper and knows the responsibility he faces following in his footsteps.
“Cam hasn’t been in because he had surgery, but he messaged me, and I said I have massive shoes to follow you up,” Hunt said.
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