Returning Bronco driven by GF defeats
Brisbane Broncos prop Mitchell Dodds is using two grand final defeats in two years to push himself towards the ultimate prize in 2017.
The 27-year-old has returned to the Broncos for the 2017 season after spending a year with English Super League club Warrington.
The Wolves lost the 2016 Super League grand final 12-6 to Wigan in a tight contest, making it consecutive losses in a decider for clubs Dodds was signed to.
What made this even worse for Dodds was the fact he had to sit on the sideline, missing the clash with a broken leg after horrifically breaking it in two places earlier in the season.
Dodds could only manage two games for Warrington during the 2016 season, but his reliable playing style meant the Broncos were quick to re-sign him when the opportunity arose.
For Dodds it is now about righting the wrongs of 2015 after coming off the bench in Brisbane's famous 17-16 NRL grand final loss to the North Queensland Cowboys.
"I want that winning feeling again. I want to be with a team that's at the top," Dodds said.
"I want to win the competition. Everyone that played for us in 2015 is the same.
"There is nothing else like running out on grand final day. To win one would be something special.
"The body is holding up well. I'm back running and feeling fit. It's a physical game and injuries are a part of that.
"The time off has probably given me some time to freshen up. I now feel ready to return to the NRL so I'm excited for the pre-season."
It will be a different looking Broncos squad as they arrive to pre-season on day one, with both Jarrod Wallace and Corey Parker no longer at the club.
This leaves a large gap in Brisbane's forward pack, with both Wallace and Parker regulars in the Broncos' 17 throughout the 2016 season.
Dodds is an ideal candidate to fill Wallace's spot off the bench, a position he relished in 2015 as he became Brisbane's big-hitting impact player.
For Dodds to return to Wayne Bennett's bench, he must prove himself in pre-season, a fact not lost on the Capalaba junior.
"I hope to be consistent. If I can become a consistent player in the team then I'm doing my job," he said.
"It doesn't matter if that's off the bench or on the training paddock. I just want to be around the club and prove myself.
"It starts in pre-season and I'll hope to build on it from there."
It's clear Dodds loves Brisbane and he has a long history at the club, with the big-bodied forward first joining the Broncos in 2008 as an under-20s player, and later making his NRL debut in 2010 against the Cowboys.
Now back to where it all began, he said he wanted to return to the familiar environment in the hope that it will bring the best out of him.
"Hopefully I have a good year in 2017 and I can play some of my best rugby league," he said.
"This club is a family. Warrington is a great club in its own right and I enjoyed my time there, but there is something about the Broncos.
"In saying that, it was good to have a break and be away from everything for 12 months.
"It was basically the first time I'd left Brisbane. It made me realise how good Brisbane is and how much I missed this place."