Hodges no liability to Broncos: Henjak - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Hodges no liability to Broncos: Henjak

By Wayne Heming 01/04/2009 04:25:37 PM Comments (0)

Coach Ivan Henjak has rubbished suggestions star centre Justin Hodge could be a disciplinary liability as Brisbane attempt to stretch their unbeaten start to the season in an emotion-charged clash with St George Illawarra.

Hodges returns from his latest suspension as the Broncos come up against their former coach Wayne Bennett before a big Suncorp Stadium crowd on Friday night.

The Origin and Test ace was outed for one match for a grapple tackle in his first game back after a late season start following off-season shoulder surgery.

It was the fourth time inside the past year that Hodges has run foul of the judiciary for a total of nine matches missed through suspension.

Asked if he'd spoken to Hodges about his brain snaps or any need to change his tackling style, Henjak said he was satisfied Hodges knew what was at stake.

"Hodgo's in a pretty good space at the moment, I haven't had to mention discipline to him," said Henjak.

"I thought he was a little unlucky (to be suspended) to be honest.

"He hasn't had a discipline issue since he's been back.

"He's had a great attitude and trained really hard and he's ready to play.

"He's a good player to have come back into your team, especially into a winning team.

"We're happy to have him back and he's really enthusiastic and ready to go after sitting out last week."

Henjak was philosophical about new Dragons mentor Bennett's intimate knowledge of the Brisbane players, including skipper Darren Lockyer who'd played every one of his 300-plus NRL games under him up to this season.

"Look, with so much technology available to coaches today there's not much they don't know about a player," said Henjak.

"The know which way Locky likes to run or step, they know how Karmichael (Hunt) slides around the backline, they know everything, there's no secrets.

"They all have access to the same technology so knowing players' pet likes is not such a big deal any more."

Henjak said the Dragons had been a real bogey side for Brisbane - having won the last seven encounters - and the way they were playing suggested fans would see a very physical game with a lot of defence.

"They're playing well," he said after confirming prop Nick Kenny (hamstring) along with Hodges would come back into the starting line-up.

"They've got the best defensive stats in the competition at the moment, and they've got the best completions in the competition at the moment.

"You have to really fight to stay in the contest with them so we understand we're going to be in a real dog fight on Friday night."

In one month Bennett appears to have transformed the Dragons from a side renowned for throwing away games much to the disgust of fans, to one that displays the never-say-die mentality the Broncos are famous for.

The Dragons displayed the defensive grit Bennett is famous for in beating Cronulla 10-6 last weekend.

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