Hodges 'busting' for Broncos comeback - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Hodges 'busting' for Broncos comeback

Wayne Heming 16/02/2011 05:58:45 PM Comments (0)

Nervous but pumped, Justin Hodges has promised to unleash the "full package" in his long-awaited playing comeback for Brisbane in Saturday night's pre-season trial against the Cowboys in Alice Springs.

The former Queensland and Australian centre's last game of rugby league was the preliminary final against Melbourne in September 2009.

A ruptured achilles tendon suffered during pre-season training kept him off the field for the whole of 2010.

Brisbane weren't the same side without Hodges who is one those players who has a presence on the field at any level.

Two kilos heavier, refreshed and free of any judiciary baggage (carry over points and loading), Hodges said he was "busting" to play again.

And he said the big sidestep, the fend, the aggression and the abrasiveness he liked to rub opponents with were all still there.

"They're all still there, especially the aggression ... I think it's got even worse. I haven't played for a while or had anyone to take it out on," the 28-year-old said with a laugh.

"It's been a while, it's been tough but there's only a few more days to wait."

At his best, Hodges is up with the game's genuine danger men.

But it was probably his defensive influence Brisbane missed most last year.

"I'm up a few kilos to 99kgs and I'm feeling fitter and stronger than ever," he said.

"I can't wait for Saturday night, to be honest, I'm dying for a game."

While Darren Lockyer and Sam Thaiday will miss the trip to Alice, coach Ivan Henjak has named a starting team which could contain up to nine players who'll figure in Brisbane's opening NRL game against the Cowboys at Suncorp Stadium on March 11.

Peter Wallace will test out the shoulder he had surgically reconstructed during the off-season while Jack Reed, a Queensland Cup player with Norths, gets another run on the wing.

The Cowboys, meanwhile, had to cancel their flight to Alice Springs on Wednesday because of weather conditions associated with cyclone Carlos, which was bearing down on Darwin.

The Cowboys trained in Townsville and were rescheduled to fly out on Thursday.

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