New South Wales coach Laurie Daley and captain Paul Gallen have backed halfback Trent Hodkinson to do a job for the Blues despite being hooked from the field by Bulldogs coach Des Hasler in their clash against the Dragons on Monday afternoon.
With 20 minutes remaining in the game and the Bulldogs down 16-10, Hodkinson looked on from the sideline as a preferred halves pairing of Josh Reynolds and Moses Mbye orchestrated the Dogs' revival and eventual 29-16 victory.
While he would later return to see out the final five minutes of the match, Daley said he wasn't concerned with Hodkinson being relegated to the bench at such a crucial time and drew from the benefits of him being thrown back out on the field.
"I think that the Bulldogs needed an injection of something and they got it with Josh and unfortunately Trent was the guy that had to make way because he was in the halves," Daley said.
"When the game was in the balance they threw Trent back out there because they needed someone who was composed and calm and again. All along that's what I've said he brings to this team and will continue to do.
"He's a great kid with a great work ethic. We've got him here for a specific reason and that's what he brings to the team – his calmness, composure, his direction, his kicking game and his ability to make good decisions."
Gallen remained blunt about the matter. Not concerning himself with the Bulldogs' worries, the NSW skipper was simply concerned about Hodkinson helping the Blues level the series next Wednesday.
"I'm sure he's going to do a good job as he's done in the past. I'll have a chat to him. He's a good player," Gallen said.
"I've been involved with him around here and I know how well he directs the side around the park. That's why he's here. I've got no doubt he'll get the job done."
The man himself Hodkinson said that while he was disappointed to be hooked against the Dragons, his confidence wasn't impacted though he didn't shy away from his slow start to the year.
"I'm feeling good, as I did last camp, it's good to get amongst the boys and I'm looking forward to the next week-and-a-half and it's no different," Hodkinson said.
"Obviously I had a slow start to the season and no doubt there's still room for improvement so I'm looking forward to Origin next week."