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Origin camp and surprise engagement: Hunt's off-season from heaven

He may've only returned to the paddock last week, but it's already been a massive pre-season for Hymel Hunt.

It all started back in October, when a phone call came through which saw Hunt enter the Queensland Origin camp.

A month later, he announced his engagement to long-term partner Elli Smith.

According to the ever-green winger, it's left him in the perfect headspace to launch into his best season yet in 2021.

"I think if everything's intact in your outside life, then everything with footy will just flow with it," Hunt said.

"That's one thing my partner and I always say, we get everything outside our work-life great so that everything with footy just flows."

Prior to popping the question, Hunt spent an intensive six-week period inside the series-winning Queensland Maroons Origin camp.

While he didn't get the chance to make a dream Origin debut, the experience of being in camp for such a historic series win is an obvious benefit for the 27-year-old.

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"It was an unreal experience," he said.

"I thought training would be a lot more cruisey, but it was very intense.

"Wayne and the coaching staff wanted to bring a real high intensity to the whole series.

"I just want to bring everything I learned up there back to the boys here in Newcastle."

Despite not being on the field, Hunt was one of the first Maroons to race to Knights team mate Edrick Lee after he nabbed a crucial try on the stroke of half-time.

"We were joking about it before the game, that when he scores a try he was going to run straight over to me and give me a big hug.

"I just wanted to be in there with my best mate, I couldn't believe it."

After coming so close to a debut, Hunt now has his sights firmly set on earning a maiden Queensland jumper.

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"That's definitely one of my goals," Hunt said.

"But I'm more worried about this team here and putting my best foot forward."

Following his return from Origin camp, Hunt decided to take a very different, but equally daunting leap of faith by popping the question to his now-fiancè.

According to Hunt, wedding preparations are now moving quickly.

"I was pretty nervous the night before, but doing it I was just more excited," he said.

Hunt: Origin camp, training return and off-season engagement

"She's happy, and happy wife, happy life.

"All the main things are ready, the venue's booked, and we're just up to a videographer, she's ahead of the game."