25 May 1982 |
Cairns, Queensland, Australia
|Height||190 cm (6 ft 3 in)|
|Weight||99 kg (15 st 8 lb)|
|Position||Centre, Wing, Fullback, Five-eighth|
|2012–13||Indigenous All Stars||2||0||0||0||0|
Justin Hodges (born 25 May 1982 in Cairns, Queensland) is an Australian professional rugby league footballer for the Brisbane Broncos of the National Rugby League and as of 2014 is one of the club's two co-captains. A Queensland State of Origin and Australian international representative centre, he started his career with Brisbane before moving to the Sydney Roosters, with whom he won the 2002 NRL Premiership. Hodges later returned to the Broncos, with whom he won the 2006 NRL Premiership.
Hodges made his first grade debut for the Broncos against the Canberra Raiders after playing junior footy for Cairns Kangaross. In his debut, Hodges played exceptionally well, saving two tries in a losing Broncos team. Hodges only played 5 games for the Broncos in his debut season.
Hodges was promoted to the full-time NRL team for the Broncos in 2001, however only played in 12 games for the club. The Broncos failed to re-sign Hodges before the 30 June tampering date, which was to prevent clubs taking players from other clubs. Justin then signed a three-year deal with the Sydney Roosters. Feeling betrayed by his defection, Broncos coach Wayne Bennett told Hodges that his services were no longer required and pushed him back to the Broncos' feeder club, the Toowoomba Clydesdales.
Hodges signed with the Sydney Roosters for the 2002 NRL season. At the end of that season he played at centre in the Roosters' 2002 NRL Grand Final victory against the New Zealand Warriors. During his stint at the Roosters, Hodges made headlines for all the wrong reasons, which included a disastrous State of Origin debut where he threw two in goal passes which turned into tries for the opposing team (although Queensland won that match), and being punched by then Bronco Casey McGuire in a preliminary final against his current club .
Having won the 2002 NRL Premiership, the Roosters travelled to England to play the 2003 World Club Challenge against Super League champions, St Helens RLFC. Hodges played at centre in Sydney's victory. Hodges played in the first ten games for the Roosters scoring eight tries, but injury ruled him out of the entire season after that.
In the second Origin game, Hodges suffered a serious knee injury, damaging the cruciate ligament in his left knee early in the second half of the match. The game was played at Brisbane’s Suncorp Stadium and Hodges considered legal action against the stadium for the poor state in which the surface was in. However, he decided not to take legal action against Suncorp Stadium.
In early 2004, Hodges broke up with his long-time girlfriend and was given two weeks sympathy leave from the Roosters. He caused further disruption to the Roosters when he missed a training session and club functions to spend time with his friends and family. Subsequently, coach Ricky Stuart put Hodges into the lower grade premier league. Hodges however, made it back into the first grade Roosters team. In round 12 he scored a hat trick against the New Zealand Warriors in a match the Roosters won 58-6 but the following week he was sent off for a high shot on Bulldogs player and Queensland teammate Steve Price. He was subsequently suspended for several weeks.
In mid 2004, Hodges went to Brisbane to talk to Broncos coach Wayne Bennett to seek a return to the Broncos. This was approved by Roosters boss Brian Canavan, but Roosters coach Stuart did not know that Hodges wanted a release from the club. After several off-field incidents, Hodges was expected to leave the Roosters mid season and go to the Broncos, but the Broncos did not want this. At the end of the season Hodges played for the Roosters at centre in their 2004 NRL grand final loss against cross-Sydney rivals, the Bulldogs.
Return to the Broncos
After the feud between coach Bennett and Hodges earlier in 2001, some critics felt that Hodges would not be able to fit well into the Broncos team. But during an off season camp, Hodges and Bennett sorted things out and all Hodges wanted to do was play rugby league. Hodges stated that he did not regret going to Sydney, but felt it was time to go home back to Brisbane. Former Brisbane Broncos captain Gorden Tallis backed Hodges return to the Broncos, despite some fans questioning the merits in which Hodges returned.
Hodges's return caused a problem for the Broncos. They now had three centres, while only two could play in that position. Hodges, Shaun Berrigan and Brent Tate were left to contend for the two centre positions. For the early rounds of 2005, Hodges was forced to play on the wing, with Tate and Berrigan the centres. When Brent Tate suffered a shoulder injury, Hodges was able to play in his preferred position of centre.
Hodges had ligament damage in his right knee, and missed two weeks as a result, but returned for the Broncos final match. The Broncos were knocked out of the finals, after losing seven straight matches.
In 2006 Hodges started the season playing in the centre position and continued to play there for the first 10 rounds of the competition. However injury plagued him over the next 10 rounds, only playing one game for the Broncos in those rounds. Despite this, Hodges was selected to play for Queensland in the first two games of their 2006 State of Origin series win, the first of what would become a record consecutive run. In the second game he intercepted a NSW pass and ran 85 metres to score a try.
However, injury sidelined him for over 3 weeks including the 3rd State of Origin match, before he made his return against the North Queensland Cowboys, a game that the Broncos lost 26–10. The Bronco's form continued to slide, until coach Wayne Bennett moved Hodges from the centres to fullback, in place of injured team mate Karmichael Hunt. The team cast off their slump and made it into the 2006 NRL grand final, Hodges' fourth in five seasons. Facing minor premiers Melbourne Storm, Hodges was selected to play at fullback. In the 20th minute, off the back of a skilful Darren Lockyer inside pass, Hodges scored a try and Brisbane went on to win the grand final 15–8.
At the end of 2006, Hodges went on to play for Australia in the Tri-Nations Series, He scored one try against Great Britain and played in the final match against New Zealand, which Australia won.
Due to the Broncos winning the grand final, Hodges, along with the rest of the team, travelled to England to play the 2007 World Club Challenge. Hodges played in the centres for the trial match against the Crusaders, which they won 32–6. Hodges scored an intercept try just before halftime, in the trial match. In the World Club Challenge, against St Helens RLFC, the Broncos lost the game 18–14.
With Karmichael Hunt playing in the halves, Hodges was moved to fullback for the first two rounds of the 2007 NRL premiership. When Hunt was showing poor form in the halves he was moved back to fullback, and Hodges moved back into the centres for Round 3. In that round, Hodges equalled the Broncos' club record of four tries in a match.
Hodges was again selected for the ANZAC Test, and played in the centres. He also played in all three games for Queensland in the 2007 State of Origin series. Hodges scored one try in the third game and Queensland won the series 2–1. Despite being sidelined for several weeks due to a knee injury, Hodges finished the season as the Broncos' top try-scorer.
Hodges played in the opening match of the 2008 State of Origin series, which would be Queensland's third title win in a row. In August 2008, Hodges was named in the preliminary 46-man Kangaroos squad for the 2008 Rugby League World Cup, and in October 2008 he was selected in the final 24-man Australia squad.
On 14 October. Hodges was ruled out of the World Cup after finding he needed shoulder surgery, facing up to six months' recovery.
Hodges showed his true toughness in Round 26 against the Newcastle Knights by taking to the field despite having a severe eye infection and an undisclosed illness.
In April 2009, he was named in the preliminary 25-man squad to play for Queensland in the opening game of the 2009 State of Origin series, and was subsequently picked at centre for the opening State of Origin match. He injured his leg during the first half, and whilst on the sideline for the remainder of the match, New South Wales scored all their tries, which Phil Gould later referred to as "no coincidence". In game 3 he was heavily involved in an altercation with several other QLD and NSW players only 2 minutes before full-time. TV broadcasts clearly showed Hodges 'egging' NSW players on to fight, following an incident between Steve Price and Brett White (and later Trent Waterhouse and Justin Poore). He later told reporters that he believed what Justin Poore did (lifting an unconscious Price up off the ground) to be a "dog act".
Hodges ruptured his Achilles tendon during pre-season training, and subsequently missed the entire 2010 season. He also missed being part of Queensland's victorious Origin campaign in which it won for the fifth year in succession.
Hodges was expected to return within the first few rounds of the 2011 Brisbane Broncos season after playing successfully in two pre-season trial. He made his return in a 'local derby' match against the Gold Coast Titans where he scored the match-winning try. Hodges' form in the early part of the season rewarded him with selection in the annual ANZAC test. Injury was still affecting Hodges, as he was ruled out for several more games. He missed the first two games of the 2011 State of Origin series, however made his return in the third game sending his club, state and national captain, Darren Lockyer out on an Origin high. He scored a hat-trick in the round 21 fixture against the Cronulla-Sutherland Sharks, two tries of which were set up by Lockyer.
Hodges was selected to play Centre for Australia in the Rugby League Trans-Tasman ANZAC Test, against New Zealand at Eden Park (over in Auckland, New Zealand). However, Australia end-up winning the Test game 20-12.
In the 2012 State of Origin series Hodges played at centre in all three matches for QLD, scoring a try in the third and deciding game; which Queensland won the 2012 Series.
Following the 2012 Season and the signing of Scott Prince, Hodges revealed that he wanted to shift from Centre to the Fullback role for the Broncos club (for the 2013 Season); after being inspired by a breakout season from his Queensland Maroons and Australian Kangaroos Test team-mate Greg Inglis (who made a switch from Centre to Fullback in the 2012 Season). However he featured in most of the Broncos' 2013 Season Campaign in the Centres.
Hodges spent most of the 2013 Season playing in the Centres. During the season, he also spent some time playing a bit of Fullback for the club as well.
In August, following Broncos team-mate Corey Norman's axing from the Broncos' line-up (of the final games of the 2013 season) Hodges and Josh Hoffman took turns playing Fullback and in the Centres, rotating/interchanging between these 2 positions. However, Hodges' season ended prematurely after a snapped left Achilles which he suffered in the Round 22 home clash against the Dragons.
During the NRL post-season, in October he mentioned that team-mate and Kiwi-international Test player Josh Hoffman was not the right player to play Fullback for the Broncos and backed Ben Barba in the Fullback role for the club.
Hodges missed the first few weeks of the season, due to the injury he suffered in the 2013 season. During his stint watching the Broncos play from the sidelines, on 30 March; he mentioned that club team-mate and Kiwi-Test player Josh Hoffman was playing his best footy at Five-eighth and that he was very impressed with the way Hoffman was playing in the Broncos' No. 6 Jersey. Hodges was expected to return from his injury, in Round 6 of the season, however, he made his comeback early, playing in the Broncos' Round 5 home game against the Parramatta Eels.
First Grade Debut – 8 May 2000
First Grade Debut – 15 March 2002
Queensland State of Origin Debut – 5 June 2002
Australian Test Debut – 14 October 2006
2014 - present
Centre of the Year
|Broncos Best Back
|Broncos Best Back
|Broncos Best Back
|Broncos Most Consistent
with Steve Renouf, Wendell Sailor, Karmichael Hunt, Denan Kemp and Israel Folau
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