WATCH LIVE: Broncos star plays for Jets

Gympie Times

SHORT PASS: Just because you get paid a million dollars a year does not mean you are exempt from being dropped.

Broncos half back Ben Hunt found that out the hard way and will lace up the boots for the Ipswich Jets this weekend after being axed for in-form play maker Kodi Nikorima.

Broncos coach Wayne Bennett has firmly stated Hunt's axing has nothing to do with his move to the Dragons next year but in the same breath said, "There is no doubt Kodi will be the half back next year."

To me that sends a mixed message.

It is my belief Hunt's demotion is a manifestation of a greater force.

Objectively, if you look at the stats, Hunt has not been in the best form since returning from injury.

He has averaged just 2.5runs per game and has broken the line once in his eight games this year.

This was the justification Bennett gave for Hunt's axing. He wants him to "run the ball more".

Numbers aside, Bun Hunt is one of the best halves in the game and while I understand it is a coach's prerogative to pick whoever he wants week-to-week, I can't help but feel Bennett's succession plan is coming into play.

Hunt has been painted into a corner.

Kind of a "damned if you do, damned if you don't" scenario.

If Hunt has a blinder for the Jets this weekend, does that automatically qualify him for a first-grade start the week after?

I think not and even though Bennett hinted that Hunt's axing will be temporary so he can "just go back and get a couple of things right", I would tip we will not see him back in a Broncos jersey for a while.

From what I have read, I would argue Hunt's axing is not so much a result of his form but more to do with the Broncos' overall plan to move forward without him in 2018.

Underneath all the spin and well-versed articulation, what goes on behind closed doors at NRL clubs can be nothing short of savage and I would be surprised if conversations were not had regarding plans for next season.

As clubs morph from family-orientated institutions into big corporations, the old "taking it one week at a time" adage does not apply any more.

When you are forking out ridiculous sums of money for players, planning for the future is crucial to protect the financial integrity of the club.

Hunt's axing is a direct result of the modern rugby league landscape.

If it was a case or having to work on his running game, could that not be done at an NRL level?

I know players get dropped and promoted all the time and it is not unusual for highly paid club stalwarts to spend time in reserve grade occasionally but in my view Hunt's demotion has a sinister undertone.

Only time will tell.

He very well may work his way back into the top-grade spot he has held for so long.

His stint in reserve grade may be the best thing for him.

It could be a master stroke from a master coach, the thing most needed to get his form back on track.