Trent Hodkinson says he understands Boyd Cordner's comments supporting his teammate Mitchell Pearce and isn't buying into any flack. Credit: Robb Cox. Copyright: NRL Photos.
Halfback of the 2014 drought-breaking NSW Blues Trent Hodkinson says he has not entertained any thoughts of cementing the role long-term.
Hodkinson is the first Blues halfback to taste series success since Andrew Johns in 2005 – a run that has seen Mitchell Pearce (12), Brett Kimmorley (four), Peter Wallace (four), Brett Finch (two), Jarrod Mullen (one) and Craig Gower (one) pull on the sky blue No.7, with varying degrees of success.
By contrast, from 2006 to 2013 Queensland named just Johnathan Thurston and Cooper Cronk – plus Scott Prince for two games in 2008 when Darren Lockyer was out injured.
As a 25-year-old halfback Hodkinson's best years are most likely ahead of him if he can stay injury-free, but with Origins being few and far between he said he is taking nothing for granted.
Asked if he viewed himself as a likely long-term Blues No.7 Hodkinson said "not at all".
"It's a long time between Origin series and if you’re not performing at club level you’re out of the picture," he said.
"You’ve got to perform week in, week out. That’s what Thurston and Cronk do at club level, that’s why they have been there for so many years. I can’t see [myself in that position] at all."
He said with a lot of young talent coming through (20-year-old Tigers halfback Luke Brooks has been touted by many as a future Blue) he'll need to stay on his A-game.
"For me to have any chance to cement a spot you have to go to club level and dominate that. I want to finish the series on a high and get back to club level full of confidence," he said.
One thing that will help his case is if he and Bulldogs halves partner Josh Reynolds can continue to impress at NRL level, with the side currently equal first on the ladder.
"Our combination has improved the past year. Coming into this [2014 Origin] series we spoke about cementing our spots and changing a bit of history. We’ve done that, but in saying that we have to get back to club level and keep our combination going well."
Hodkinson also spoke of his desire to finish the series on a high with a win in Brisbane before the side lifts the shield.
"I’d like to think [we can do it again]. I wanted to take a bit of leadership and ownership out on the field. Hopefully I can grow from game two and do it a bit more in game three," he said.
"[Queensland] are going to be pumped up. The last thing they want to do is go down three-nil in a series after dominating for eight years. The last thing we want to do is go there and get smashed by a team that wants to win. People are saying it’s a dead rubber but it’s not. We want to win three-nil and they want to win a game. There’s plenty to play for and they are going to be fired up."
Hodkinson also played down any issues arising from comments made by Blues teammate Boyd Cordner at the start of the camp saying it was unfair for incumbent halfback Mitchell Pearce – a teammate of Cordner's at the Roosters – to have been dropped, with the suggestion Pearce should have been there instead of Hodkinson.
"I can understand where he is coming from in regards to Pearcy, he is one of his teammates so he would stick up for him no matter what," Hodkinson said.
"I would do the same for one of my teammates. I didn’t look too much into it and think about it too much. It was just what it was.
"I didn’t speak to him about it or anything. I just let it go. As I said he was sticking up for one of his teammates. I would do the same for someone at the Bulldogs."