Hodges' plea ahead of Bennett return
Wayne Bennett's belief in the fabric that held the Broncos together once tore Corey Parker and Justin Hodges apart but both have expressed their strong desire to continue as co-captains when the master coach returns in 2015.
Brought back to Red Hill to restore Brisbane to the powerhouse he was so instrumental in creating for the first 21 years of the club's existence, Bennett's review of the playing roster will undoubtedly include a look at the leaders in the organisation.
Parker and Hodges were two of the seven Broncos players added to the Kangaroos Four Nations train-on squad along with Sam Thaiday, Matt Gillett, Ben Hunt, Josh McGuire and Dale Copley on Monday.
While Hunt and Copley are most likely to earn a start with the PM's XIII game against the Kumuls in Papua New Guinea on October 12, the unavailability of both Paul Gallen and Nate Myles opens up a couple of spots in the Kangaroos' forward pack for a mobile prop such as McGuire.
Since being installed as co-captains at the start of the season at the expense of Sam Thaiday, Parker and Hodges have made it their mission to lead by example and for Hodges in particular it would be the closing chapter in a tumultuous relationship with Bennett.
Dropped from first grade in 2000 for signing a lucrative deal to join the Roosters the following season, Hodges went a long way to mending any broken bridges when he returned to the Broncos in 2005 despite Bennett later saying that "even certain members of the staff weren't keen" on welcoming him back.
Now, having single-handedly dragged his team back into the contest against the Cowboys last Saturday night, Hodges wants to help lead the Broncos into a new era of dominance with Bennett again at the helm.
"The guys that are in this side are a great bunch of blokes and I've seen them come a long, long way from under-20s to how they are now; I'm proud of the boys and I love being their leader," Hodges said in the wake of Brisbane's 32-20 defeat.
"My job is to make them better people and better players and when I leave this club I know that the club will be in good hands because of the players I've got sitting in that dressing-room who really want to dig in for that jersey."
The history between Parker and Hodges stretches all the way back to their junior days in Brisbane and Parker – the elder of the pair by just 20 days – says it is a partnership he hopes will continue.
"Both myself and 'Hodgo' have a passion for this club. It's been there since day dot in 2001 and he and I as a team and as a group, we have learnt a lot and been challenged a lot.
"When you have the 'C' next to your name, you have that responsibility, the passion has never changed, I have always loved this club the same as Hodgo and I wouldn't be the person I am today without this club.
"As I said to the guys after the game, savour this moment, know how you are feeling because there are times next year where you have to draw on it.
"This team has copped a lot through 2014, we faced a hell of a lot of adversity, we can look back on that and know we have learned a lot through that adversity.
"If you said back then we would play week one of the finals, fighting the way we did... certainly there will be times in the near future where we can look back and learn from some of the lessons we've come through this year and be better for it."