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Maguire backs Souths rookie Hunt to shine
Ian McCullough
14:05 AEST Thu May 17 2012

South Sydney coach Michael Maguire has backed Justin Hunt to take his superb reserve grade form into the NRL when he debuts against St George Illawarra on Sunday.

With Greg Inglis on State of Origin duty with Queensland on Wednesday, Nathan Merritt's switch to fullback opened the door for Hunt to start on the wing.

The 23-year-old has been a stand-out for North Sydney Bears in the NSW Cup after moving south from Queensland Cup side Redcliffe Dolphins.

He's the second-top points scorer in the competition, crossing for 11 tries and kicking 35 goals in just seven games, and his coach is confident he can be as successful as 2012's surprise package Andrew Everingham.

Maguire was tipped off about Hunt's talents by Souths' recruitment manager Mark Hughes and, after a good pre-season, earmarked him as one for the future.

"He's a player who's very quick and he's very much looking forward to his opportunity," Maguire said.

"He's done a great job for our feeder team at Norths and I've been very happy with him."

Hunt arrived at Souths as a fullback who could also play five-eighth, and Maguire said it was his versatility that impressed him.

"I like his all-round game and he has a good footy brain and is an outstanding kicker," Maguire told AAP.

"He's come down from Queensland Cup and I had a good feeling about him and he's worked hard and deserves his shot in the NRL."

Hunt's elevation is at the expense of Shaune Corrigan who started the season on the wing, but returned to reserve grade after failing to find the try line in the seven matches he played.

"Corro is a little bit bruised at the moment at missing out," said Maguire.

"But Hunty is doing really well at Norths and deserves his chance."