Hodges rules out Origin II comeback - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Hodges rules out Origin II comeback

By Wayne Heming and David Beniuk 02/06/2011 06:07:23 PM Comments (0)

Star centre Justin Hodges has conceded he will miss the second State of Origin match in Sydney, despite speculation he will be named on Tuesday in Queensland coach Mal Meninga's 17-man squad.

"If I got selected, I wouldn't be able to train all week and it's not ideal. I'd rather be training from day dot," said Hodges on Thursday.

Hodges suffered two hamstring tears playing for Brisbane against Penrith three weeks ago and was initially told he'd be sidelined for six to eight weeks.

While the second Origin game at ANZ Stadium was still two weeks away, Hodges - who had a history of hamstring problems - had already ruled out playing Origin II in his own mind.

"It's the smart thing to do. I don't want to go out there and let anyone down, that's the most important thing to me," Hodges said.

"It was a pretty big tear but it's coming along well, so we'll see how it is in a few more weeks."

Brisbane's medical staff had already notified Queensland officials and Meninga that, in their opinion, Hodges would be unable to train leading into the second Origin game on July 15.

Hodges realised that if he returned too soon, it could jeopardise his whole season.

But he said he'd be ready to help out in Origin camp next week if Meninga wanted him there.

While Brisbane have pencilled in the bumper NRL clash with St George Illawarra - two days after the Origin game - as a possible comeback for Hodges, they accept that might be a little too ambitious.

"I don't think he'd be ready," said Brisbane coach Anthony Griffin when asked about reports Hodges would be named for Origin.

"We're committed to Origin as a club, we want our players to play Origin and the players want to play.

"But if they pick him and take him into camp, they'll only find out what we've already found out.

"You can't magically just pick him in Origin and expect him to be ready to play earlier than what he is.

"It's a stretch that he'll be ready to play against St George.

"If I'm in Mal's shoes going to Sydney, I don't want a player half baked and, all of a sudden after 15 minutes, find he's sitting on the sideline and you're down to 16 men."

Queensland's centre crisis deepened after Willie Tonga (shoulder) joined Greg Inglis (hip) and Hodges on the sidelines following the opening 16-12 Origin win over NSW.

The situation could improve on the weekend if Inglis makes a successful comeback for South Sydney against his former club Melbourne.

Inglis will play his first game since the Kangaroos' win over New Zealand early last month at ANZ Stadium.

But he played down his chances of an Origin return.

"(The Queensland selectors would) probably say no but, at the end of the day, you go into camp 10 days early so you can put more Ks in your legs over those first few days," he said.

"I'm not sure how I'll go in (game) time out there (on the field) until I'm put to the test."

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