Justin Hodges hopes Origin is kind to him - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Justin Hodges hopes Origin is kind to him

Wayne Heming 22/06/2011 05:15:37 PM Comments (0)

State of Origin hasn't always been kind to Justin Hodges.

Take his embarrassing debut at ANZ Stadium in Brisbane in game two of the 2002 series when he gifted NSW two tries with risky in goal passes.

Thankfully for him, Queensland still escaped with a win.

In the corresponding Origin game the next year he blew out his knee playing for Queensland on a controversial Suncorp Stadium surface.

In 25 Origins since his forgettable debut, Hodges has only played in 11, mainly because of a series of injuries.

While he's no stranger to Origin disappointment, having missed the last five games, next month's deciding clash is one he has his heart set on playing.

As Darren Lockyer's 36th and last game for Queensland, he desperately wants to be there for the emotional farewell of a player who's had such a big impact on his career.

If his dodgy hamstring comes through Friday night's clash with South Sydney when he lines up on fellow Queensland centre Greg Inglis, he'll win a recall at the expense of Melbourne's Dane Nielsen who's done a good job filling in during the series.

"It was hard to miss the first two games but it's all set up for a nice ending for Locky," said Hodges.

"If I get through Friday night, hopefully Mal (Meninga) will pick me and I can go out and do a job for Queensland."

Hodges has played nine of his 11 Origins with Lockyer for a 5-4 return.

He wasn't taking his recall for granted and said if selectors stuck with Nielsen, who has match fitness on his side, he would not hold any grudge.

"Nielsen played well in the first two games, it would be up to the selectors," he said.

"I remember when I was young waiting for guys to retire and opportunities to come along.

"In the end it all comes down to the selectors and Mal.

"I wouldn't hold any grudges if they picked him (Nielsen) again.

"He's been there for the first two games but game three is a big game and I'm ready for it."

AAP wh/gc/j

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