Justin Hodges offers Origin support to Mal Meninga
JUSTIN Hodges may have played his last game for Queensland, but he is desperately hoping coach Mal Meninga will let him join his Maroons support staff that has been so important to the team's successful Origin formula.
As he soaked up the euphoria of his 24th and last Origin game, in which he kicked the final goal of the match in the 52-6 drubbing of NSW, the 33 year-old centre told APN he would love to join Meninga's coaching staff once he finished playing, which could be at the end of this season.
Hodges, who cut short celebrations to fly to Cairns to attend the funeral of his Aunty Cheryl, who he said was "like his second mother", is considering a swansong season in the English Super League if he decides not to play another NRL season.
But whatever happens, he said his goal was to one day join former Queensland Origin stars such as Allan Langer, Steve and Kevin Walters, Gavin Allen, Trevor Gillmiester and Jason Hetherington on Meninga's Origin staff.
"As a player my days are over, and there's not a better feeling than leaving on that note, but I'd still like to be involved and support Mal and the boys in any way I can," Hodges said. "I'll be the bus driver or Alf's (Langer) assistant or Kevvie's (Walters) assistant, whatever it takes to get a gig."
Meninga said Hodges would be "sadly missed", not just because he was one of the best centres to play for Queensland, but also because he was a real character who added a lot of fun and enjoyment to Origin camps.