Broncos stunned by Hodges' NRL return - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Broncos stunned by Hodges' NRL return

Laine Clark 14/06/2011 07:02:48 PM Comments (0)

The green light has been given to Justin Hodges' NRL comeback - much to Brisbane coach Anthony Griffin's surprise.

While Griffin admitted Hodges was close to donning the Broncos' colours last round, the Brisbane mentor was still shaking his head over the Test centre's rapid return.

Hodges has been slotted into a 20-strong Broncos, squad, boasting all five State of Origin stars, for Friday night's Suncorp Stadium showdown with St George Illawarra - just a month after tearing his hamstring.

"This time last week, he was 1000-1," Griffin said of Hodges.

"But he heals really quickly. He looks like he will play.

"He's had a really good week. As long as the medical staff are happy and he is feeling fresh, he will play."

Griffin is also keeping his fingers crossed that skipper Darren Lockyer and Sam Thaiday will back up from Origin for the first time this season.

Fellow Maroons Corey Parker, Ben Hannant and Jharal Yow Yeh have previously put their hand up after rep duty this season - but not Lockyer and Thaiday.

"Of course it will depend on Wednesday night, but this is one game we had targeted as a backup game (for Lockyer and Thaiday)," Griffin said.

Dale Copley makes way for Hodges and moves to the wing, while utility Jack Reed looks set to be retained on the bench after slotting into the forwards in Brisbane's remarkable 25-24 last-round win over Canberra.

Prop Nick Kenny (shoulder) has also been named on an extended bench along with Corey Norman and Kurt Baptiste.

Dane Carlaw (knee) and Dane Gagai (under-20s) have been omitted.

"We are not sure about Nick - he is very sore," Griffin said.

"Jack is a touch unlucky (to be relegated to the bench) but (centre selection) Gerard Beale has also been one of the form players of our side.

"Jack did a great job in the backrow and we will probably keep him on the bench as a ... backup."

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