Hodges feels good after Broncos training - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Hodges feels good after Broncos training

By Wayne Heming 27/01/2009 05:16:50 PM Comments (0)

An upbeat Justin Hodges has eased Brisbane's worst fears that the personal problems which forced him to take extended leave could derail his NRL playing career.

Hodges resumed training on Tuesday after a six-week absence, revealing he hoped to make his playing comeback from a shoulder reconstruction in time for the round four clash with former mentor Wayne Bennett's St George Illawarra at Suncorp Stadium on April 3.

The Australian Test centre said he had dealt with the personal issues that had reportedly caused him to suffer depression and prompted the Broncos to give him the time off after he failed to show for a public engagement.

That will be a big relief to Brisbane chief executive Bruno Cullen who said recently: "We had a troubled man on our hands."

"When these things come up, you don't just take things for granted."

Hodges was buoyant after training with his teammates on Tuesday.

"I'm really good actually," Hodges said. "It's probably the best I've felt. I feel refreshed and like I said, I'm ready to play some footy.

"I had some personal stuff to deal with. I've done that and put that behind me and I'm just looking forward to a great season with the boys."

Hodges, 26, was excited about linking the club's star recruit Israel Folau in a dynamic new right side pairing.

"I saw him yesterday and I can't believe how big he is," enthused Hodges.

"He's still only 19 or 20 or whatever he is so he's going to be a giant.

"It going to be good having him on my side and it's going help me and Locky (Darren Lockyer) as well."

Coach Ivan Henjak hasn't revealed where the massive Folau will play.

But with Hodges, Steve Michaels and former Origin and Test player Michael DeVere making a comeback, the odds are he'll slip onto the right wing to terrorise defenders with his size and aerial skills.

Hodges believes having the 105kg Folau on his shoulder will help make him more dangerous in attack.

"I think it will and at stages we might swap around and give him a crack in there (centre) as well.

Brisbane fans will have to be patient though with Hodges eyeing off a comeback against either the Warriors (round three) or the Dragons, having missed the World Cup tournament to undergo his shoulder reconstruction.

Meanwhile Lockyer and Brisbane officials were left highly amused today by rumours on Monday that the champion five-eighth was set to walk out on the Broncos and join the free-spending Bulldogs.

Lockyer, who did some ball and skill work, looks in terrific shape after undergoing arthroscopic surgery on his knee late last year.

However he'll be kept on ice during the trials by coach Ivan Henjak and saved for the club's NRL season opening blockbuster against North Queensland at Suncorp Stadium on Friday March 13.

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