Hodges declares his hamstring '100 per cent'
Broncos captain Justin Hodges has declared his troublesome hamstring 100 per cent as he prepares to make his return to the side for Friday night's mouth-watering clash with the Dragons at Jubilee Oval.
With his team flying high on top of the table, Hodges took advantage of their lofty position to rest his hamstring for a further week last week but has been named to play in his regular position at right centre on Friday. After two outstanding defensive displays Dale Copley shifts back to the wing with Daniel Vidot retaining his spot on the other wing and Corey Oates dropping back to the bench.
Hodges said that his hamstring issues stem from his tendency to over-stride under fatigue but added that he would continue to play at fullback in attack until Darius Boyd's return from injury which is still more than a month away.
With Jordan Kahu also sidelined with a hamstring strain Lachlan Maranta has filled in at fullback admirably in the past fortnight but Hodges said any concerns for his hamstring won't stop him from his roving commission in attack.
"I'll still play there in attack, that won't change. It's a role that's worked for me and I'll keep playing there I think until Darius comes back," Hodges said. "Once he comes back I'll stay on the right side and go back to playing centre full-time.
"[The hamstring] is 100 per cent; it was only a low Grade 1 tear. I would have tried to play last week but having only trained one week and not training all week, I didn't want to ruin the boys' preparation. I think that would have been pretty selfish of me to do that.
"With my history I had to wait a little bit longer and I've had a good test today and a good test yesterday so I'll be ready to go."
With Hodges, Kahu and Adam Blair all missing, the Broncos' win over the Roosters – who were also missing Aidan Guerra and Blake Ferguson – was one oozing character.
They were forced to fight back from 18-12 late to take the match into golden point and Hodges admitted that their five-game winning streak allowed him more time to make sure his hamstring had fully recovered.
"They've really stepped up the last two weeks and the game against the Roosters last Friday night, I would have loved to have been out there. It was something special and a great team win," said Hodges.
"When you're losing games there's always more pressure than when you're winning games. When you're winning games no one cares about you but obviously when you're losing games they want you back in.
"I'm ready to go and excited to get back and help out the lads.
"I've only been out for two weeks but sometimes when you play each week you can take it for granted so I'm really looking forward to getting back."
Hodges and Corey Parker are the only two members of the current Broncos squad who last ventured to Kogarah to play the Dragons way back in 2007, a Jamie Soward field goal sealing an 11-4 win for the home side.
That is the only occasion the Broncos have played the merge entity at Kogarah and Hodges welcomed the opportunity to return.
"It's a great round; I'd rather play there than down at WIN (Wollongong)," said Hodges, who has scored just two tries in 17 games against the Dragons.
"It's a lot easier stadium to play at. At WIN they're a bit closer and the fans are always into you down there so it's going to be a great occasion.
"The Broncos and St George have got a lot of proud history there so I'm pretty sure Friday night is going to be no different."