Rabbitohs centre Hymel Hunt told our Members last week how it felt to face his four-week suspension.
I actually felt like I let the boys down at first.
I was quite annoyed at myself just because you can’t afford to have one of your starting 17 to be out for four weeks especially if it is not for a serious injury or an important matter like that. Suspension is totally different, it’s from ill-discipline. I was very annoyed at first because now the boys had to bring in one of the young boys and the young boys have really stepped up, definitely, but I just felt like I let them down and I was very annoyed at myself.
But the suspension has been very good for me. God works in mysterious ways and I don’t think I was fit enough in the first half of the year so the last four weeks has been a little preseason for me. The coaching staff, especially our head trainer, Paul Devlin, he has helped me to get fitter. Now I am back playing and I feel ready, ready to go like I should have been in round one. Now my body feels right and I feel physically and mentally ready to be back.
I’m focusing mainly on trying to control my level of excitement more than anything else.
I don’t think I’ll feel too many nerves about going on to the field but I think it’s more about controlling my levels towards my aggression because I am very aggressive and I think that’s a little part of my game that I need to work on. I think that’s what got me suspended. I let my emotions and aggression get the best of me and then I did something silly like a careless high tackle but if I use it, that is my aggression, and aim it at one specific thing like a kick chase, or make a tackle, or hard run, I think that would be a lot better for myself and for the team. It probably looked like I had a bit of animosity towards him but I didn’t mean to. I think it’s always smart to play with aggression in football because it is a hard game and I think if you don’t go in with all you’ve got, you’ll come out second best. I think the best thing about me is my aggression and my hard running and tackling so I’ve got to use that by just channelling away that discipline that is going to get me suspended.
During the four weeks off I have had time to think about being smarter inside my training, especially in my defence. When things don’t go our way I need to focus on just trying to stay calm and I have worked on extra meditation in my time off. We do a lot of mental training here and learning on how to control our breathing, so I have just got to think back to that breathing training and using those little techniques to help me control my levels of aggression.
For the first week there was obviously three of us suspended and the following week it was George (Burgess) and I. I know it wouldn’t have helped our team but it helped me with my training. I would have to say a massive thank you to the rehab boys because those guys really helped and pushed me the last two weeks when it was just myself. Connor Tracey, Jack Gosiewski, Brett Greinke and Aaron Gray, without those boys I don’t think I would have trained as hard as I could have or gotten as fit as I am right now because I feel like I am probably the fittest I have ever been in my life from the last four weeks of training and it’s a massive thank you to those boys.
We are a very close knit group here, we are pretty much like family, like brothers. I think whenever someone is starting to pull away from the group, someone’s always pulling them back in and making sure they are fine. For example, like Connor Tracey, he did his knee months ago for the third time but I feel he is one of the closest in the group at the moment, with all the stories he has been telling and how much fun he is having just being around the boys. I think that just shows what type of group we are, a close knit group and we are always willing to work for each other but we’ve just got to put it on the paddock now and show the rest of the world.
To me, South Sydney means everything. First when I came to the Club I didn’t really understand when everyone was talking about the history, until I got here and met the legends. I had my little stint of injury last year and worked with some of the staff across the road and the coaching staff. You actually acknowledge and respect what the Club means. Also to the fans because when I’m driving now I see about 100,000 stickers a bloody day. It’s probably an exaggeration but not really because literally everywhere I drive I’m seeing bunnies stickers. Even when I go back home to Queensland I see another thousand stickers and to me that shows how much love there is for the Club and it makes me love the Club even more too. Especially when we wear the Red and Green, there is so much history and it makes you play that much harder and when you know that we have the most Members. All these little things that make you love the Club even more. For me that is everything, South Sydney means everything to me. When I put on that jersey, when I put on the socks, shorts, everything, even when I do a promo, when we are out in Coogee or getting a coffee, you’ve got an image to uphold and I think that’s something that we respect here at South Sydney.