Hodges not losing sleep over rep selection - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Hodges not losing sleep over rep selection

Wayne Heming 30/04/2011 05:09:22 PM Comments (0)

Classy Brisbane Broncos centre Justin Hodges isn't sweating on his name being read out in Australia's Test side on Sunday, he's just relieved to be back playing in the NRL again.

It's taken the 28 year-old just six games to remind national and state selectors of his value both as an attacking weapon and also as a strong defender who reads play better than most.

He missed last year's Test and State of Origin series and the entire NRL season after rupturing his achilles tendon leading into the 2010 season .

There were genuine fears his career was over after the injury took longer than expected to heal, but the extra time spent on the sidelines after initially trying to rush back towards the end of 2010 has proved a blessing.

While he still hasn't found the form that made him the country's best right centre and challenging Greg Inglis as the best in the game, he is showing signs he is not far off it.

"I haven't really thought about rep football to be honest, just getting back on the field with Brisbane has been my main focus and always will be," Hodges told AAP after Brisbane chalked up their seventh straight win over Canterbury on Friday night.

"This is my sixth game in a row which is probably an all time record for me.

"I'm enjoying it and I'm back loving footy again and playing with my mates."

Hodges said the form of young players like Gerard Beale, Jharal Yow Yeh, Jack Reed and Alex Glenn had brought the best out in the club's senior stars.

"It makes the job for us senior players a lot easier and they're buying into what we're doing, you can see that out on the field by the way they're playing," said Hodges.

"This time around they're going even better (than last year).

"It's only early days (though) and we have to keep winning games to get to the finals."

Hodges said Brisbane, who back up again Melbourne next weekend, had positioned themselves well to enter the testing representative season with their young players standing up.

"They're not waiting for us older players to do it, they're taking us forward," he said.

"It's a credit to then, they taking some responsibility and they're becoming better players for it," he said.

Hodges senses something special building in Darren Lockyer's last season.

"I hope so, it's still early days but we've got a great bunch of boys and you get a sense of excitement," he said.

"It's a challenge for us to keep leading the way at training and in games but the young guys are really putting it to us."

Bulldogs coach Kevin Moore said losses to Melbourne, St George Illawarra and now Brisbane showed his side was "just off the pace ... But we're not that far away." he said.

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