Hodges on the brink of NRL re­turn

Townsville Bulletin - - Sport - townsville­bul­letin. com. au

MUCH as he’d love him back, Bris­bane coach An­thony Grif­fin will re­ject any late plea from Justin Hodges to make his NRL re­turn against Can­berra on Fri­day night.

Hodges and fel­low Queens­land Ori­gin star Ben Hannant were again left off the Bron­cos’ team sheet yes­ter­day, but there was a feel­ing the door was not com­pletely closed on Hodges mak­ing a late bid. He looked sharp in some in­di­vid­ual drills be­fore join­ing team train­ing late in the session, trig­ger­ing spec­u­la­tion he may be a late ad­di­tion if he pulls up well this morn­ing.

Hodges has a his­tory of com­ing back early from in­juries but Grif­fin said the de­ci­sion had al­ready been made.

‘‘ Hodgo won’t play, but he is very close,’’ Grif­fin said.

‘‘ This is his first week of do­ing ev­ery­thing, full-on run­ning, and he needs this week off to play next week.’’

Grif­fin said Hodges’ as­sertive­ness at train­ing in­di­cated he was about ready and rar­ing to play af­ter miss­ing the 2010 sea­son with an Achilles in­jury and then the first 2011 game with a ham­string tear.

‘‘ You see him this morn­ing, he’s loud, he’s got his spring back and that’s be­cause he’s feel­ing good,’’ said Grif­fin.

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