Smith loses patience with Eels - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Smith loses patience with Eels

By Darren Walton 13/05/2003 07:44:45 PM Comments (0)

Fed-up Brian Smith finally lost patience with his Parramatta under-achievers, dropping NSW State of Origin incumbents Brett Hodgson and Jason Moodie for Sunday's National Rugby League clash with Manly at Brookvale Oval.

Smith also named specialist forward Lee Hopkins at five-eighth as he continued his endless search for answers to the Eels' dramatic fall from grace.

But his decision to pick Hodgson and Moodie - who both played all three Origin games last season - in Premier League is likely to cause most angst among the diminishing Parramatta faithful.

Hodgson's axing comes as the biggest surprise.

The goalkicking No.1 was rested against the New Zealand Warriors last Saturday night after being concussed the week before against the Sydney Roosters.

But he was expected to be rushed back as the Eels, running second-last, chase only their third win from 10 matches this season.

Smith took time out from his duties as NSW Country Origin coach to defend his controversial decision to retain Ashley Graham at fullback.

"It all comes down to form," Smith said.

"Brett has been a little below his best so far this year and we've been really impressed with what Ashley has done when he's been given a couple of chances."

Hodgson took the news from Smith this morning and tonight said he was shocked to have been dropped for the first time in his seven-year first grade career.

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