On the Road: Hodges hamstrung

On The Road doesn't gratuitously quote people using expletives, so for our purposes what Justin Hodges said when he came off with a hamstring injury in Monday Night Football was "I told you".

After all, what's the use of including the cuss word if it adds nothing?

But we were a metre away when Hodges may or may not have used a few of them before suggesting he knew he was going to aggravate a hamstring problem during the match, which saw Brisbane secure a home final by beating Newcastle 26-6, and that unnamed others should have known too. Perhaps he was talking to his own legs, Adam MacDougall-style.

Coach Anthony Griffin later denied the Australia centre, who hopes not to have suffered a season-threatening tear, had expressed any concerns about taking the field in cold, wet conditions at AusGrid Stadium.

"That's just him having a spit," said Griffin. "He knows his body better than anyone, it was totally his decision to play.

"He's just had a rough time with the injury recently and he worries if he feels it tightening up.

"He's got a smile on his face in the dressingrooms now."

Hodges declined to be interviewed; eventually we'll get the chance to ask him what he told whom and when.

In the meantime, there was plenty of action on the sidelines at the final match of round 24.

Brisbane medical staff were alarmed when prop Josh McGuire got a poke in the eye. "It's the same eye!" a medico exclaimed, in reference to the detached retina that threatened the career of the Samoan international earlier this season.

But McGuire brushed off their concern. "I'm fine," he said, later returning to the fray as one of the Broncos' best performers in their first away MNF win.

On the other bench, Newcastle hooker Matt Hilder's head gash was so serious he needed to be hospitalised while centre Junior Sau's high ankle sprain may end his season.

In commentary, Knights legend Andrew Johns thought he saw successor Jarrod Mullen suffer a pectoral muscle tear.

"It's more his shoulder," said coach Rick Stone, who told radio Triple M he would probably have to return captain Kurt Gidley to the halves if the No.7 was ruled out of next Saturday's game against Canterbury.

There are an unusual number of matches in the next two weeks which will determine places at both ends of the table.

South Sydney are battling Newcastle for a top-eight berth and they play each other in round 26.

Parramatta and Gold Coast are vying for - or is the correct terminology 'to avoid'? - the wooden spoon. They play each other in round 26 too.

The Warriors and North Queensland are fighting for a home final. Guess what? They play in week 26!

Manly are the only side that can mathematically rob Melbourne of the minor premiership. These sides just happen to have an appointment with each other this Friday.

But the really unusual thing about the next two weeks is that those who don't have something to play for, more often than not, have someone.

The Titans are farewelling Preston Campbell. The Bulldogs are sending off Andrew Ryan. The Raiders, Alan Tongue. All of them are, or have been, club captains.

We have more than a few immovable objects colliding with irresistible forces over the next fortnight.

The result? Maybe more injuries. Definitely more expletives.