The Gold Coast Bulletin - Play Magazine - - FRONT PAGE -


FOX Sports’ new 24/7 rugby league chan­nel, Fox League, is the an­swer to NRL fans’ long-held prayers but for for­mer Bris­bane, Queens­land and Aus­tralian cen­tre Justin Hodges it is another op­por­tu­nity to chal­lenge him­self.

“Foot­ball al­ways came easy. As a professional league player you knew you didn’t have to try too hard as it came nat­u­rally, but to be on TV and to host and be a part of some­thing as big as Fox Sports is mas­sive and it’s some­thing that will put me out of my com­fort zone,” he says.

“That’s some­thing I look for­ward to, chal­leng­ing my­self. It’s a per­fect role.”

Hodges re­tired at the end of the 2015 sea­son, which cul­mi­nated with the 251-game veteran play­ing in a gold­en­point grand fi­nal loss against the North Queens­land Cow­boys, and has spent the 18 months since ad­just­ing to his new life.

He made his first move to the small screen last year as co­host of NITV’s League Na­tion Live and will this year be one of the faces of the new­est in­clu­sion to the Fox Sports sta­ble, along­side Matty Johns, Yvonne Samp­son (pic­tured) and an ex­ten­sive line-up of league leg­ends in­clud­ing Corey Parker, Mal Meninga, Kevin Wal­ters and Gor­den Tal­lis.

Hodges said he found the tran­si­tion from field to screen tough at first but it was the per­fect step for a 34-year-old who thrives on set­ting – and smash­ing – chal­lenges.

“The first three or four weeks be­ing on live TV were a chal­lenge, you al­ways have to be mind­ful of what you say as it’s live TV,” he said.

“It was some­thing that re­ally grew and some­thing I loved do­ing; get­ting on TV and talk­ing footy, which is some­thing I love and I’m very pas­sion­ate about.”

League Na­tion Live was dis­con­tin­ued for 2017, though Hodges will take the lessons he picked up on the weekly show and ap­ply them to his new role at Fox League. Fox League is on Fox­tel’s chan­nel 502 now

Fox com­men­ta­tor Justin Hodges.

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