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Hodges relishing return as No.1 dangerman

Brisbane star Justin Hodges' attacking switch to fullback has given the Test centre a new lease of life to terrorise NRL rivals.
Hodges relishing return as No.1 dangerman
by AAP

By Jim Morton

BRISBANE, Aug 9 AAP - Brisbane star Justin Hodges' attacking switch to fullback has given the Test centre a new lease of life to terrorise NRL rivals.

While always dangerous on the right edge, Hodges has been more influential and destructive in the past fortnight since being given a roving commission by coach Anthony Griffin.

The Queensland Origin stalwart switches with fullback Josh Hoffman whenever Brisbane pass the halfway line and has been given a licence to attack as the Broncos strive to win their last five matches to make the finals.

It's already added an extra dimension to their game in the opposition 20, highlighted by Hodges' match-winning try against North Queensland and another last week in the 18-18 draw with Newcastle.

He's now relishing the chance to pop up in all sorts of areas against St George Illawarra at Suncorp Stadium on Sunday.

"When you are stuck on one side and you're not getting the ball, sometimes you do tend to kick some cans," Hodges said on Friday.

"When I do change with Hoff it really kicks me into gear, and it's something I really enjoy.

"He goes in there (at right centre) and slots in well and it's working well for us at the moment."

During the pre-season, Hodges had hoped to turn the clock back to where he started his career, and also where he lined up in the 2006 grand final, but Corey Norman was preferred at fullback until last month.

"I was playing fullback before I started playing here and I'm really enjoying it and something I'm looking forward to each week," he said.

"When you are playing in the centres sometimes you are limited to only 20m of space and if defenders are sliding on you really well, it does make it hard sometimes to see some daylight.

"Playing fullback you can turn up on both sides or you can turn up in the middle when the forwards are getting a bit tired and cause a bit of havoc there."

But Hodges would have no issues moving back to centre fulltime if the Broncos snare excitement machine Ben Barba from Canterbury.

"He's a lot younger and a lot faster than me," the 31-year-old said. "He's a wonderful player and I'll be happy just to stay out wide.

"When you have a player like that he's given so much attention and it gives us guys out wide a lot more room so if he comes I'll be happy to run off him and hopefully score a few tries."




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