Hunt haunts Broncos as Dragons start with a win
Ben Hunt scored a crucial try on his St George Illawarra Dragons debut to help see off former club Brisbane Broncos 34-12 in the NRL season opener.
Starting for the hosts at Jubilee Oval, Hunt intercepted a pass from Matt Lodge - returning to action following his 2015 New York arrest for assault - to score and wrestle back control of the match as James Roberts threatened to inspire a Broncos comeback.
Tyson Frizell earlier delivered the only try of the first half and, after Roberts scored and Hunt responded, Euan Aitken, Jack De Belin and Jason Nightingale then completed a handsome Dragons win.
Jordan Kahu had scored the first try of the season in the prior two NRL campaigns and his penalty handed the visitors a 2-0 lead, but the Dragons soon took control.
Gareth Widdop kicked a pair of penalties before Frizell went over, brilliantly diving on the loose ball as three opposition players closed in.
Escaping as a tight yet correct offside call denied Widdop a try of his own from Hunt's kick just before the break, the Broncos were much improved from the restart, with 2017 top-scorer Roberts soon bringing the game back to 10-6.
Then came Hunt's big moment, the 27-year-old reading Lodge's pass in the middle of the pitch and sprinting clear, before showing no restraint in his celebration.
The influential Widdop set up Aitken, before Roberts hit back with his second try to keep the Broncos' slim hopes alive, with Hunt's attempted field goal then striking the post.
But De Belin made sure of a home victory and, in the final seconds, Nightingale lunged for the line to add his name to the scoresheet.