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Linnett faces toughest test on Hodges

Of all the mouth-watering match-ups in Saturday night's NRL elimination final in Townsville, North Queensland coach Neil Henry admits unheralded Cowboys centre Kane Linnett faces the toughest.
Linnett faces toughest test on Hodges
by NRL

By Laine Clark

TOWNSVILLE, Qld Sept 7 AAP - Of all the mouth-watering match-ups in Saturday night's NRL elimination final in Townsville, North Queensland coach Neil Henry admits unheralded Cowboys centre Kane Linnett faces the toughest.

But Henry has backed the former junior athletics champion to get the jump on Justin Hodges in the Broncos game-breaker's 200th NRL game.

An in-form Hodges looms as the key to a weekend boilover at Dairy Farmers Stadium.

Indeed the eighth-placed Broncos have dubbed the veteran "Mr September" as they plan for an unlikely tilt at NRL premiership No.7.

However, Henry believed the under-rated Linnett could achieve something few could - keeping the cheeky Hodges quiet.

"He probably has (the toughest job on the field). There is no doubt Hodgo is dangerous," Henry said on Friday.

"He is a focal point of their attack. He is going to be hard to contain. We need to get our defence right.

"It is a good challenge for Kane. And I would like to think Kane can toss up a bit at Hodgo too and rise to the occasion."

Linnett, 23, is looming as the buy of the season after filling the void left by Willie Tonga.

Ditched by then coach Wayne Bennett at the Dragons before leaving the Sydney Roosters for a fresh start in Townsville, Linnett has hit the ground running at North Queensland.

The former St George Illawarra and Sydney Roosters three-quarter has 12 season tries and averages 125 metres a game.

Hodges made no secret of the fact he wanted to inject himself into the game this weekend.

"I always like to have the ball in my hands, and I want to help our forwards out by injecting myself at dummy half and get some go forward - hopefully I can make a difference out there," Hodges said.


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