Hodges backs another Tate comeback
Maroons centre Justin Hodges has backed his good mate Brent Tate to make yet another comeback from injury but concedes he hasn't yet spoken to him about his future in the game.
Tate will be on hand next Wednesday night to share in the celebrations of the eight straight Series victories that he has contributed to so significantly and will no doubt share his innermost thoughts to his team-mates then as to whether he can go through yet another knee reconstruction and play for North Queensland again in 2015.
Hodges has not played an Origin game without Tate by his side since Game Three, 2009 and the pair have formed an unbroken partnership on Queensland's right side since Game One, 2012 and when Tate went down early in the second half of Game Two, Hodges was one of the first on hand to check on his well-being.
It was clear very quickly that the injury was a serious one and that a possible fourth knee reconstruction awaited Tate and Hodges believes there is enough fight left in him to go out on the right note.
"It's tough. We've known each other since we were 12 and played footy together since then and I know what he's been through with all his injuries," Hodges said.
"We've both had the same injuries together and how many we've counted and it's a shame.
"I've had a few texts with him but don't want to get into his head-space too much. There are a lot of family and friends talking to him at the moment so I just want to give him some time because I know what it's like when you have a big injury. You don't want to talk to anyone, you just want to be left alone and I respect that but when the time's right I'll give him a call, I'd love to have a chat with him.
"Hopefully he does get it right and try to come back and play, if there's one guy that can do it it's 'Tatey'. He's been through so much and I'm pretty sure he can do it again.
"It will be good to have him there [on Wednesday night]. He's been a big part of this side over the last few years and been one of our best players in every game.
"When those tough runs need to be taken he's the first one to put his hand up and the way he fought back to get back in this side is a credit to him and we're going to miss him."
While Tate's playing career at club and Origin level remains in limbo, Hodges has been one of Queensland's best performers in the opening two Origin encounters and said he will continue to represent his state as long as his body – and the Queensland selectors – allow him.
"If the body's still fine... For me it's just about playing good footy, I don't want to let my mates down," said the 32-year-old who earned the Dick 'Tosser' Turner Medal for playing his 20th Origin match in Game Two.
"Next year I'll just see how the body feels and if I'm playing some good footy then I'd never want to say no to Queensland. There'd be no player that would want to say no so if I'm playing some good footy I'd love to keep playing."