Queensland Maroons and St George Illawarra Dragons star Ben Hunt has sensationally revealed that he received an invite to Paul Vaughan’s infamous BBQ, but declined.
Dragons coach Anthony Griffin had told his troops to celebrate the 19-18 victory against the New Zealand Warriors in the appropriate manner, given that there was a stay-at-home order in place from the NSW government to curb the spread of Covid.
However, ex-Dragons prop Paul Vaughan hosted a BBQ which a number of teammates attended, breaking the government order as well as breaching the NRL’s biosecurity rules.
Hunt said that he received an invite to Vaughan’s home, but had plans in place.
“I got a call saying there was a BBQ in the afternoon, but I wasn’t aware of what was happening or how big it was going to be or who was going,” Hunt told NRL 360.
“I’m quite happy that I wanted to have some family time and I knew that I just wanted to stay at home with them.
Vaughan’s BBQ cost him his contract with the Dragons. (Photo by Ashley Feder/Getty Images)Source:Getty Images
“I didn’t know that they were all going, Vaughany just asked me if I wanted to come down to his for a BBQ and I said ‘no thanks I’m staying home with my family’.
“That was all I knew of it, I didn’t know of the numbers or anything that happened.”
As a result of the BBQ, Vaughan was sacked by the Dragons and handed a $50,000 fine along with an eight-game suspension from the NRL.
The other Dragons who attended all received a one-game ban as well as a fine that was relative to their salary.
If Hunt was caught up in the BBQ bungle, he almost certainly would have missed out on the Maroons’ victory against the Blues in game three.
Hunt played a starring role in the Maroons’ 20-18 victory in game three. (Photo by Bradley Kanaris/Getty Images)Source:Getty Images
As a result, the side prevented what would have been a hugely embarrassing first for the state, as NSW would have produced a clean sweep with all three games on Queensland soil.
But according to Hunt, he could sense that the Blues weren’t going to be the attacking juggernaut they were in the opening two games that saw the Brad Fittler’s side post a combined score of 76-6.
“It was probably about midway through the first half, I just felt like they weren’t really throwing as much attack at us as they had in the previous games,” Hunt said.
“That’s right across the board.
“I just didn’t feel like they were moving the ball around as much and really playing as quick through the middle.
The NSW attack was stifled by a resolute Queensland side. (Photo by Chris Hyde/Getty Images)Source:Getty Images
“I felt like we had a bit more of a control on that.”
Hunt wouldn’t have been the main culprit of that humiliating first for the state, either.
Maroons coach Paul Green would have faced a significant fight if he wanted to keep his job, and may yet still find that the case given his side’s abysmal performance in the opening two games.
But Hunt feels like Green deserves a second chance next year.
“I’d be happy to see him go on again,” Hunt said.
“I think it would be pretty rough on anyone to pull them off after just one year.
“I think he deserves to go around again and have another shot.
“I think he showed last night that he could get us up for that game and that’s what he’s got to do going forward.”
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