Henjak confident Hodges will bounce back - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Henjak confident Hodges will bounce back

By Wayne Heming 17/12/2008 05:14:09 PM Comments (0)

Brisbane coach Ivan Henjak is confident troubled centre Justin Hodges will return to training next month hungry to defend his reputation as one of rugby league's top players.

Hodges, who underwent shoulder surgery in the off-season, is currently on extended leave approved by the Broncos last week.

He was given the time off to deal with a number of "personal issues" complicating his life.

Brisbane have taken a compassionate stance with the Origin and Test centre.

They could have torn up his lucrative contract after he failed to front for a club commitment following a big night on the drink recently.

Brisbane had been talking tough, threatening to make an example of the next player to step out of line in the wake of several embarrassing alcohol-related incidents.

But with reports Hodges is battling depression it was decided to support him by getting him some counselling and giving him six weeks' leave to work through his issues in order to get his life back together.

"I'm pretty sure when he comes back he will be ready to get back into training and playing," said Henjak this week.

"He communicates regularly with the club, not with me, but I'm kept updated on things.

"He's going well at this stage."

Henjak said the club wanted to help Hodges through a difficult period in his life.

"You're never going to escape those things," he said.

"We're dealing with human beings and as such we all have our different problems and issues and Justin's got his.

"We're confident he's starting to get himself on the right track and recover and we're looking froward to seeing him back here in January."

Henjak said the players had earned a 12-day break at the end of the week following a tough pre-season training schedule.

"This is our fifth week and I haven't been able to fault them," he said.

"They've earned the 12 days off. I'm hoping they all have a good break but also keep themselves in fair shape and don't lose the gains they've made.

"The season will be upon us pretty quickly and competition will hot up then."

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