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Brett Hodgson talks to GRL - Australian Rugby league News
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globalrugbyleague - Sat, 03 Feb 2007 23:10:00 GMT
The NRL is meant to be the land of the giants
where the only the big boys play....somebody forgot to tell Wests Tigers
captain and star fullback, Brett Hodgson

At 175cm tall and weighing in at only 77kg, surviving the weekly wear and
tear of the NRL Telstra Premiership is no small feat for Wests Tigers captain,
Brett Hodgson.

It's a big accomplishment amongst peers such as Nathan Cayless, Adrian
Morley, Hutch Maiava and other goliaths. Throw in an NRL premiership, an
appearance for the Blues in 2002 and life ain't too bad for last season's
leading point scorer. Still there are plenty of challenges ahead for the Tigers
and Hodgson knows it.

JK: Brett, at 77kg you're the smallest
captain running around on the field. How have you managed to protect
yourself from being taken out of the game Gordon Tallis style?

BH: Ah mate I guess the more you play the more you learn to
put yourself in a position where you don't get as hurt as much, so try and duck
and weeve a bit more I think

JK: How do you feel whenever you see footage of the 'Raging Bull'
taking you over the sideline in Origin all those years ago?

BH: Oh mate , it was one of those things. I was honoured to
be there to have him pull my jumper. I keep telling the boys that my jersey
actually grabbed a hold of his (Tallis) hand not the other way and that's what
I'll stick with.

JK: Are you planning on putting on extra kilos for a bit
more padding?

BH: I guess I'm getting on a bit now so the weight's not
gonna come at this stage I think. As long as I can maintain a good amount of
kilos on what I've got at the moment, that's all I can do. I'm not going to be
putting on weight too much at this time of my career.

JK: What was worse last week? Losing the game against the Cowboys or
losing Benji Marshall to injury?

BH: Oh, I guess immediately losing the game and then when
we found out about Benji this obviously it lingers a lot longer. He's definitely
going to be missed but hopefully we get him on the paddock sooner rather then
later.

JK: The Cowboys are now five in a row. Can they go the whole season
undefeated?

BH: Oh no, mate, I don' think anybody can go
undefeated in this competition. If you're off your game only a fraction of a
per cent you're going to get dished up and sometimes significantly. No, they've
got another hard game again this week against Newcastle, so the games don't get easier for
anyone.

JK: Which NRL team do you think is the favourite right now to
inflict the first defeat on NQLD?

BH: At this stage, Newcastle. They're the other quality side of
the competition at this time, so I think both Newcastle and the Cowboys are setting the
standard for what's required.

JK: How much of a disruption does Benji Marshall's absence cause at
training?

BH: It hasn't been too bad. Obviously he's a pivotal loss
to us but we can't go wallowing into too much sorrow, we have to get on with
life and probably some of our senior players need to look at ourselves and make
sure we lift in order for the younger guys to follow along.

JK: As the captain, how do you try and keep the confidence up in
the team without Benji?

BH: Just leading from affront {and} not having to say too
much., cause the coach has to do a lot of the quality talking. I don't need to
say too much and put my hand up but just make sure when i get out there on
Sunday I lead from affront and do some of the hard stuff and hopefully provide
some chances for us.

JK: Jono Rolfe from the Balmain-Ryde Eastwood premier league team is
in some good form. Is he a chance of making it into the five-eighth spot if some
of the other options don't work out?

BH: Oh yeah, the coaches have been looking at him. He's
been playing quite well in the premier league, so he's definitely a chance if
things don't go well in the next couple of weeks. I think anyone who puts their
hand up consistently in reserve grade is always a chance of playing first
grade.

JK: Rep footy is coming up in the next couple of months. Anthony
Minichello seems to have that fullback position cemented next to his name. What
area of play do you have to be brilliant in just to get the selectors
attention?

BH: I guess you just need to be playing consistently well
and providing opportunities for your support and making sure you cut down
chances that other teams have against you. There's no doubt Minichello is a
wonderful player and it's my aim to sort of knock him off the only thing I
can do is not worry about how he goes but how I go for the Tigers.

JK: Would it bother you if you never got the chance to play Origin
ever again?

BH: Oh, I'd be a little bit....there would be a little bit
of an empty feeling I'm sure. I loved playing the Origin when I was there. I
guess you ask all the halfbacks in the competition if they're worried about not
playing for Australia
because of Andrew Johns, there's such quality players out there that you just
have to make sure you do your best and hopefully you get that spot.

JK: The West Tigers have conceded the most penalties in the
competition after five rounds. The figure is 43. Is discipline a
problem Tim Sheens has had to bring up with you guys?

BH: It is at this stage, yes. We've let in a
substantial amount of penalties due to ill-discipline and we need to rectify
that, especially in crucial times in the game against the Cowboys. Several
times on the fifth tackle we let penalties go and that just gives teams a whole
new set of six which pretty much tells at the end of the game.

JK: Your reaction to criticism in the media that the Tigers like Newcastle are a one-man
team?

BH: That's warranted if we don't play well without him. We've
got to make sure in this next little period of footy that we stand up and be
counted and don't give the media the chance to say we're a one-man side.

JK: What about the expectations from your fans this year. Has that
changed a lot since winning the title last season?

BH: I think when you win a premiership a lot of things
change. The culture of the club changes, the fans perspective and the fans
belief changes. They believe now we're a winning side and we're no longer
struggling to make the eight, we should be there. - Read More, Here