Kiwis custodian Josh Hoffman isn't a natural fit for fullback, according to Broncos teammate Justin Hodges. Credit: NRL Photos Copyright: NRL Photos
He may be World Cup defending champion New Zealand's first choice fullback, but Josh Hoffman "is not the right guy" to wear the Broncos No.1 jersey, Brisbane teammate Justin Hodges says.
Hoffman has been named fullback for the Kiwis' warm-up clash with the Cook Islands in England this weekend and is considered a key to their title defence.
However, a question mark looms over Hoffman's place in the Broncos backline next year after the signings of Dally M Medallist Ben Barba, Canberra's Daniel Vidot and Cronulla's Stewart Mills.
Hoffman was a shining light at fullback in the final seven NRL rounds in an otherwise dismal season for Brisbane.
But Hodges said the Kiwi speedster must work on his passing game if he was to become a world class No.1.
"Hoffy is a great player, but at the moment I don't think he is the right guy for fullback," he told AAP.
"He's one of the best runners I have seen with the football, but he just has to work on his passing game. That's where I think he falls down.
"You look at guys like Greggy (Inglis) and Billy (Slater), all the great fullbacks we have in our game, they have those real fast hands.
"And Hoffy just hasn't learned that yet."
Hoffman was reportedly upset when told of Barba's three-year deal in August and was believed to have contemplated a release from his contract, which expires at the end of 2015, before backing down.
However, Hodges - battling back from an Achilles injury - believed being kept honest by Barba would only benefit Hoffman's game.
"I think Barba's arrival will be good for him," he said.
"It will be good competition.
"It (picking fullback) will be a real tough choice for Hook (Broncos coach Anthony Griffin).
"But it will be good for the Broncos having those two guys firing."
However, Hodges said Griffin may already possess the blueprint to best utilise Hoffman after Barba's arrival.
Hodges and Hoffman successfully rotated between right centre and fullback this season before serious injury again struck down the Broncos veteran.
The recovering Hodges believed swapping first choice fullback Barba with Hoffman on either the wing or centres would prove a masterstroke for Brisbane.
"Maybe that same role Hoffy and I played towards the end of the year, swapping over, I think they can still do that," Hodges said.
"There's no word that Hoff has to stay on the wing forever.
"Him and Benny swapping all the time will put the defence in two minds."