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Hodges vows to bounce back

Retirement was not an option for Justin Hodges despite the 31-year-old Test centre admitting his body may be trying to tell him something after being ruled out for the year - and yet another World Cup - with injury.
Hodges vows to bounce back
by AAP

By Laine Clark

BRISBANE, Aug 11 AAP - Retirement was not an option for Justin Hodges despite the 31-year-old Test centre admitting his body may be trying to tell him something after being ruled out for the year - and yet another World Cup - with injury.

With another season left on his NRL contract, the Broncos veteran faces a minimum 10-month recovery after rupturing his Achilles for the second time in his career early in Brisbane's 26-24 win over St George Illawarra at Suncorp Stadium on Sunday.

The win kept Brisbane's slim NRL finals chances alive but it seems they will have to get used to life without Hodges if they are to launch a last gasp title tilt.

The last time Hodges broke down with the same injury he missed the entire 2010 season.

And if he follows a similar path to his recovery three years ago, Hodges is in real danger of returning mid-season and missing Queensland's campaign for nine straight State of Origin titles.

In a horror day for injuries, the Dragons face the prospect of losing prop Trent Merrin (knee) and his NSW teammate Josh Dugan (thumb) for the rest of the season.

Hodges somehow added yet another entry to an already long injury list that includes a spate of knee, hamstring and shoulder complaints.

"I don't know what the body is telling me," Hodges laughed.

However, Hodges was adamant rehabilitation - not retirement - was the only thing on his mind.

"There is nothing worse than retiring injured - that's not me," he said.

The World Cup curse struck again for Hodges who missed the last tournament in 2008 due to a shoulder reconstruction.

Hodges had contemplated retiring from representative football in a bid to give back in what loomed as his final year for Brisbane in 2014 but he sounded hungrier than ever on Sunday despite yet another injury setback.

"There is no point being disappointed," he said.

"It's a long road ahead but I know what it takes to get back and I am very confident I will come back bigger and better than ever next year.

"I look forward to the challenge."

Hodges is expected to undergo surgery on Thursday.

Broncos captain Sam Thaiday said his side could not dwell on the setback as they faced the improbable task of winning their last four games to remain in the top eight mix.

"While Hodgo is a bit shattered, all we are worried about right now is Parramatta (on Friday night)," he said.

Brisbane led 8-6 at the main break and kept their noses in front with second half tries to Matt Gillett (43rd minute), Thaiday (58th) and Andrew McCullough (70th) but were kept honest by centre Dan Vidot's second four-pointer in the dying moments.

"It was the one that got away," Dragons coach Steve Price said.




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