Dragons captain Ben Hunt denies there is a ‘whistleblower’ at the embattled club… as NRL side continue to court off-pitch drama
Captain Ben Hunt insists there is no cultural problem with the embattled Dragons and denies there are any whistleblowers in their ranks after an angry rant from former captain James Graham.
The merger club is heading into the 2023 NRL season with a shocking list of off-field incidents that began when just three players – including Hunt – showed up at the season-ending awards night.
The club were then pumped to 42-24 in the Charity Shield by the South Sydney Rabbitohs.
Turning a headache into a migraine, teammates Mikaele Ravalawa and Zane Musgrove had a huge argument at the team hotel at 6am after a night of drinking.
Adding to the team’s woes, striker Francis Molo recently appeared in court and pleaded guilty to domestic bullying in December.
Mikaele Ravalawa and Zane Musgrove had a fight at the team hotel in the early hours of the morning after a night of drinking.
Francis Molo has pleaded guilty to a domestic bullying charge since December
The NRL’s integrity unit is investigating the matter and will make a decision on any punishment after the hearing scheduled for 22 March.
The team has already been forced to withdraw five-eighth Talatau Amone, who is currently awaiting trial next month on charges of reckless and reckless bodily harm to the company related to an alleged hammer attack.
But Hunt dismisses any criticism of the club’s culture.
“I really don’t have a problem with the culture here,” the captain told Canal 9.
‘Obviously something has happened to some people that the club is working on and working with these guys to help them. Overall, I don’t think there’s a cultural problem.
Hunt does not believe there is a cultural issue at the Dragons, despite a series of off-pitch incidents and an on-field knock.
Talatau Amone of the Dragons was withdrawn under the NRL’s no-fault withdrawal policy
‘There’s a great group of guys here and everyone is working hard every day to be better. Everyone wants to win, so I don’t have a problem.
‘We had a discussion just as a game group about the incident and what happened. We addressed that and said it’s time to move on and focus on rugby league. (We said) that doesn’t happen here anymore and that everything revolves around football.
‘The start of the season couldn’t be faster for us. We need to get out there and play some games. If we start playing and winning games, it doesn’t matter.’
Hunt also played down Graham’s suggestions that there was a ‘whistleblower’ in the ranks.
‘Everything seems to hang out these days. No matter what happens – you cannot be quiet,” he said.
‘I don’t think there’s a mole in the bunch. I don’t think there is anyone who has intentionally gone out and ratted out the club. It’s just something that happens nowadays.
The disastrous off-season left the Dragons tied with the New Zealand Warriors at $6.50 to record fewest wins this season, with only the Newcastle Knights and new franchise Dolphins less likely.
Pressure also increased on head coach Anthony Griffin.
Former Dragons captain James Graham exploded in his radio ad saying there was an informant in the club’s ranks
Hunt and Griffin have a lot of work to do ahead of the club’s Round 2 opener against the Gold Coast Titans
Fortunately for the Dragons, the club were bye in the first week and Hunt said the time would be used to sort out what happened in the Charity Shield week at Mudgee.
‘What we did at Mudgee was not good for us, but we believe this is not what we intended. I think we have a lot more to offer than what we show around”, said the defender.
‘During pre-season we built something really well, so in a way I’m happy with what happened there. We probably got that game out of our system and we know we need to be better now.
‘It’s a wake-up call that the games are here now and we need to be better than we were out there.’