Hodges rumour puts Storm on alert - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Hodges rumour puts Storm on alert

By Wayne Heming 19/03/2009 05:32:38 PM Comments (0)

Melbourne Storm went on Justin Hodges alert after rumours gathered momentum the star centre was poised for a shock NRL comeback for Brisbane on Friday night.

Hodges, who had off-season shoulder surgery and was given six week's leave by the club to deal with "personal" issues and depression, has been back in light training in recent weeks.

He was not scheduled to play his first game of the season until Brisbane's round four home clash with St George Illawarra against his former coach Wayne Bennett.

But Broncos coach Ivan Henjak - just one game into his NRL tenure - tossed fuel on the fire on Thursday, refusing to rule out rushing the Origin and Test centre into Brisbane's star-studded back line for Friday night's Suncorp Stadium blockbuster.

"He's getting close," smiled a playful Henjak after Hodges' appearance at training on Thursday led to speculation he could play.

"We'll have to wait and see, but he's getting close."

Melbourne were tipped off early about Hodges early in the day and the news came as a complete surprise.

"We heard this morning that he trained, so we don't know," said Storm assistant coach Michael Macguire.

"We spoke about it (Hodges) this morning but it's not a definite.

"If he's out there, he's a great talent for them and he'll be tough to handle.

"If he feels like he can play, I imagine he'll play, he's that type of player."

Melbourne were confident their own match winner Greg Inglis (knee and shoulder) would play if he survived a late afternoon session at Ballymore on Thursday.

"GI hasn't trained with us all week but we've got a (closed) session later today and we're expecting him to be ok," said Macguire.

"Greg's always confident and he loves playing up here."

Meanwhile Henjak took the unusual step of giving prop Nick Kenny (hamstring) an extra day to prove his fitness.

Kenny's crashing charges put Brisbane on the road to victory against North Queensland last week and Henjak felt the 26 year-old prop had earned the time extension with Ashton Sims and young prop Josh McGuire placed on standby.

"We're going to give Nick until tomorrow morning and make a decision then," Henjak said.

"He got us off to such a good start last week and he's feeling good about it so I'll give him that opportunity.

"He's a big part of the team."

Kenny, a qualified physiotherapist, is loathe to miss playing against Melbourne at home but is aware if he plays and further tears his hamstring, he could face an extended period on the sidelines.

"I'm nursing it a bit at the moment but I know I'll have to test it tomorrow," he told AAP.

"There's a risk I could tear it and be out for a couple of months which is a concern.

"It's a grade one tear and nothing like what K (Karmichael Hunt) battled last year, but it could go that way.

"Melbourne at home, it doesn't get any bigger, but I have to be sensible about it."

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