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Ben Hunt confident of St George Illawarra Dragons deal despite setback

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“We both know once footy is done we’ll be back in Queensland, but as it stands we’re both happy here,” Hunt said.

Hunt reportedly met with Canterbury supremo Phil Gould last month, but some saw that as ploy to put pressure on the Dragons so they would fast-track contract talks and release the Bulldogs’ real target, Jayden Sullivan.

Hunt tipped Hynes to pip him for the game’s top gong, and a Nathan Cleary-inspired Panthers to win the grand final on Sunday.

South Sydney coach Jason Demetriou said after the weekend loss to Penrith he had nothing but respect for the premiers, but “the competitor in me wants to hate Penrith, I really do”. Hunt agreed with the sentiment.

“You sort of get shitty [that] teams are so good and do it for so long, but you also have to respect what they’re doing because it’s pretty impressive,” Hunt said.

“I think it will be the Panthers on Sunday; just because of their consistency, the experience in the team and the way Cleary is playing. I think he will get it done.

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“He’s extremely consistent, the good games and bad games, there’s only a tiny [difference] between them. It’s hard to get him on a bad day.”

Wests Tigers skipper James Tamou was spotted on the red carpet. He told the Herald he was unsure if he would play on, and needed to tell the NRL on Sunday if he would be join the “departing” or “retiring” brigade.

There has been interest from Super League clubs Leigh and Huddersfield, but Tamou has taken the past couple of weeks to assess his next move.

“There’s been some interest, but I haven’t discussed it with my manager and have wanted to use the time to spend it with family and the kids,” Tamou said.

Watch the NRL Grand Final Exclusive Live and Free on Channel 9 and 9Now.

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