Hodges glad to be back for Qld - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Hodges glad to be back for Qld

Laine Clark and Wayne Heming 28/06/2011 07:42:39 PM Comments (0)

The last State of Origin game Justin Hodges played is hard to forget.

But the recalled Queensland centre reckons he is sketchy about the details.

Sure, it was way back in July 2009.

However, no one who witnessed the match would be claiming amnesia.

Proving once and for all that there is no such thing as an Origin dead rubber, Queensland went out swinging in the 2009 finale - literally - despite having the series in their keeping.

And Hodges was smack bang in the middle of it.

With the game in NSW's keeping, Hodges famously asked captain Darren Lockyer to kick the ball to NSW to start a fight as the game's last act - or in the centre's words "an up and under for an all-in".

It was in retaliation for what Hodges called a "dog act" - NSW's rough treatment of a knocked out Steve Price's body.

It was one of the most memorable Origin games played - unless you ask Hodges.

Back in Queensland colours for next week's Origin series decider after a horror run of injury, Hodges claimed his memory was sketchy of the 2009 controversy.

"I don't really remember it. It has been a while since my last game," Hodges said coyly.

But asked if he expected scenes like 2009 to be repeated next week, Hodges said: "We will see what happens.

"Those things happen during the game.

"Hopefully it doesn't happen again.

"But you never know - it's Origin."

And Lockyer looked forward to Hodges adding some aggression after the Test centre slotted straight into the Queensland backline despite playing just one NRL game since recovering from a hamstring complaint.

"He is one of those players who gives you confidence - he brings a bit of the intimidation factor as well," Lockyer said.

"He has been there before and he has been very effective in these games - it is good to have him back."

Hodges is no stranger to being sidelined during Origin.

Since his 2002 debut, the injury-plagued game breakerhas played just 11 out of a possible 28 Origin games for Queensland.

But Hodges admitted watching Queensland clinch a record fifth straight series without him last year hurt the most.

"Pulling on that Queensland jersey means so much - that is something I have missed heaps," Hodges said.

"When you miss one game it is always hard - but last year hurt.

"You always want to be a part of it."

Queensland coach Mal Meninga was certainly glad Hodges was back.

"He's an X-factor," he said.

"He adds confidence and he is a bit of a character - I know they feel more composed having him in the footy side."

Hodges' only regret was that his selection came at the expense of Melbourne centre Dane Nielsen.

"It is always hard to take a guy's spot, especially when Dane he has done nothing wrong in the first two games this year," Hodges said.

"But I am happy to get my chance again."

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