Ayshford up for Hodges challenge - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Ayshford up for Hodges challenge

Steve Jancetic 19/04/2011 06:28:29 PM Comments (0)

The prospect of going head-to-head with a Test centre can be a daunting experience, but Wests Tigers youngster Blake Ayshford is desperate to get the job marking Brisbane ace Justin Hodges.

Shifted from his regular right centre to the left edge last weekend as coach Tim Sheens continued tinkering with his injury-depleted squad, Ayshford said he was keen to stick with the switch and go up against Hodges.

The Broncos star has taken little time to get back in the groove after missing the entire 2010 campaign with a snapped Achilles tendon, with many experts tipping him to be rushed into the Australian side for next month's Test against New Zealand.

"Most of the time I'm on the other side and they're on the same side as me, such as a (Mark) Gasnier or a Hodges, but if I get the chance I'll take it with both hands.

"It's not every day you get to play an Australian representative.

"I got (Greg) Inglis a couple of weeks ago I was pretty excited about that, if I get Justin Hodges I'll be even more thrilled.

"It's extra drive when you come up against those Australian players, Hodges, he's come back from a season off and he's already shown what he can do, he'll probably get back in the Australian team the way he's playing."

After shutting down Inglis a fortnight ago, Ayshford said it was imperative that he did a good job on Hodges after the Tigers conceded 20 unanswered points in last week's loss to Gold Coast.

"My game is about defence, I've always been okay in the attack department it's just my defence which has let me down a lot of times," Ayshford said.

"If I can get that right in most games then I feel my attack can get the job done.

"He's the Australian centre, he's got all the step all the flair, I've just got to try and minimise him."

Having struggled to keep the same on the paddock for consecutive weeks this season, the Tigers were forced into more changes this week with Todd Payten (ankle) and Allan Schirnack (shoulder) sidelined.

Prop Keith Galloway and backrower Liam Fulton have both been named to return from injury, though Chris Heighington remains in doubt as he contests the grading of a high tackle charge.

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