The Courier-Mail

Hodges key to a shot at glory


BRONCOS legend Steve Renouf says skipper Justin Hodges is as important to Brisbane’s premiershi­p hopes as Darren Lockyer was in 2006.

Hodges (pictured) is hoping to lead the Broncos to their seventh NRL title before he hangs up his boots. The 33year-old will play his 249th NRL match on Saturday and a win would set up a home preliminar­y final in a fortnight.

Renouf, who won four titles in 12 years at the Broncos, be- lieves Hodges has what is needed to lead Brisbane to grand final glory.

“He’s just as important to that team as Darren Lockyer was (in 2006),” Renouf said.

“The players look to him. He dominates his opposition.

“He intimidate­s, and he’s very good at it. You knew you were playing Justin Hodges.

“That made his opposition second guess themselves.”

Hodges’ imminent retirement is an interestin­g subtext to Brisbane’s premiershi­p push but Renouf said that would not be the team’s motivation.

“Any game can be his last,” Renouf said. “He’s going out there and playing with that bit of extra oomph because he knows there’s only a couple more games until the end of his career.

“They’ll have that in the back of their minds but they’ve still got to focus on their own matches. That will be part of it but it won’t be a priority.

“The priority is to get the little things right.”

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