Hodgson elated with Raiders victory
Josh Hodgson has described the elation he felt when Edrick Lee raced 90 metres to seal a vital victory for the Raiders against Penrith on Sunday afternoon.
Up by just four points with five minutes left on the clock and the Panthers enjoying repeat sets on the Raiders goal-line, Hodgson was praying the Green Machine could finally close out a tight game.
He certainly wasn't expecting what happened next.
"I felt like I had $100 on a 60-to-one horse, I was screaming for him to get there!" Hodgson recalled after his man of the match display.
"We were screaming on the sideline for him to get there. He's pretty quick but for a minute there I thought he was going to get caught.
"Thankfully he got there and it's not so much a sigh of relief but we kind of knew we had the game."
Hodgson had a huge moment for himself on his final involvement in the match as he intercepted a Lewis Brown pass to deny the Panthers a certain try.
But compared to big Edrick's play, that courageous effort didn't even compare.
"My favourite play was when Eddie sealed it, that's still my favourite mate," Hodgson said.
The crafty English hooker had a hand in four of the Raiders six tries at Pepper Stadium, executing brilliantly out of dummy half in what was his most polished performance this season.
He credited some hard work with the Raiders coaching staff, and a good platform from his forwards for his form.
"Ricky's just been helping me with my game, as have the assistants and Simon Woolford," Hodgson said.
"I've just been working hard on a personal level and it makes my job so much easier when I'm playing off the back of a good roll on and a good play the ball when the forwards are doing their job.
"I didn't want to come here (to Australia) if I was going to be second string and not really play much.
"I knew there was a lot of competition here and knew I had to be playing well so I think that's making me better as a player."
The 25-year-old said his team improved throughout the game on Sunday afternoon, after a high-scoring but error-riddled start.
"It was a good performance by all the boys - I thought first half was a little bit scrappy, we dropped a fair bit of ball and I think that's what turned it into a bit of a 'you score, we score' kind of game," the Englishman said.
"But I think in the second half we held onto the ball and started completing our sets and I thought was a really good effort an good performance."
The Raiders are now well placed to make a run into the finals after their win at Penrith. After their big clash with the Cowboys next weekend they face only teams currently in the bottom eight.
But Hodgson knows the run home will not be easy.
"They're all going to be [tough] at this point in the year and how close it is this season, they're all going to be massive games for us," he said.
"This is a great win for us but we need to go again and back it up next week."