RUGBY LEAGUE: Brisbane Aboriginal star Justin Hodges will sit out the club’s NRL showdown with in-form South Sydney on Sunday with either Ben Te’o or Matt Gillett taking his centre spot.
Hodges felt his hamstring spasm and tighten during the Broncos’ 28-6 win over Newcastle on Monday night, forcing him from the field early in the second half.
With his season dogged by hamstring-related injuries, the latest setback has raised concerns about Hodges’ ability to make it into the finals.
The Broncos arrived back in Brisbane on Tuesday with Hodges not keen to discuss his latest hamstring episode.
However, there didn’t seem to be any real fear in the camp of another hamstring tear which could spell an early end to a frustrating season, denying Hodges the opportunity to play in skipper Darren Lockyer’s last regular season home game on Sunday week.
Injury cost him a place in Queensland’s first two Origin games and he just made it back in time to share in Lockyer’s record 36th Origin and his seventh series’ win last month.
Te’o, who has only recently returned from his own injury concerns after breaking his forearm twice, looks Hodges’ likely replacement with Gillett settled in his role off the bench.
Te’o has the size to help handle Souths’ left side attack of Greg Inglis and giant forward Dave Taylor who have been in great form during the Rabbitohs surge towards a top eight finish.
While Brisbane will miss Hodges’ experience and presence, they are expected to have representative prop Ben Hannant back on deck after he sat out the Knights clash to be 100 per cent fit for the club’s final two Suncorp Stadium blockbusters against Souths and Manly.
Hannant’s return combined with the arrival of Josh McGuire in recent weeks in the front-row are good signs for Brisbane who can still finish as high as second.