With his fellow countrymen Sam Burgess and James Graham about to battle it out in the 2014 NRL Grand Final, Canberra Raiders recruit Josh Hodgson’s excitement is growing as the clock winds down on his imminent arrival in the Nation’s Capital.
Burgess and Graham join a long list of Englishmen who have been supremely successful in Australia. This list includes names such as Malcom Reilly, Ellery Hanley and Adrian Morely and Hodgson is determined to be the next on that list.
Since joining the Hull Kingston Rovers in 2010, the rugged hooker established himself as one of the most integral members of the club scoring 37 tries in his 125 appearances. Despite this, Hodgson has chosen to leave the Hull KR and the English Super League to test himself in the NRL.
“I loved my time at Hull KR,” Hodgson said. “They helped me progress a lot as a player and as a person in my five years there but the NRL is said to be the best league in the world and it's always something I said I would do if the opportunity came along.
“When the opportunity came along at the Raiders I knew deep down that I wanted to make it happen although it was still a tough decision to leave Hull KR, especially being the side’s Captain.
"I'm happy with my decision though and I'm looking forward to the challenge ahead."
Hodgson agreed to terms with the Raiders due to the club’s rich history and his desire to be a part of Ricky Stuart’s rebuilding plans.
“Canberra is a big club with a lot of history behind it and I am really looking forward to being a part of the Ricky's team for next season and a part of the rebuilding process to restore the club to where they should be,” Hodgson enthused.
“Ricky spoke to me about the club and what they are about and it is something I feel I will adapt well into.
“I know the club missed out on the semi-finals this year and I’m sure that returning to finals football will be one of our goals in 2015.”
Despite being just 24 years of age, Hodgson brings across a wealth of experience at club level as well as being the stand-by hooker for England’s James Roby at the 2013 Rugby League World Cup.
Whilst Hodgson will head into 2015 in a confident frame of mind after picking up Hull KR’s Player of the Year Award, he is under no illusions that he will be a walk up start to the number nine jersey.
He candidly admits that the NRL is the best rugby league competition in the world and is determined to earn his stripes throughout the pre-season and during the trials, in order to win over his new coach, team mates and club members.
“It was a proud moment to pick up both the Player of the Year Award and Player’s Player at the Rovers and whilst that gives me some confidence, at the same time it's a fresh start at Canberra and a blank canvass so to speak. I know that I have to work hard and make a good impression.
“I have watched quite a few NRL games since signing and although the Raiders missed the semi-finals I’m excited about the talented youngsters coming through the ranks. I wouldn't like to pick one individual out in particular that I'm looking forward to playing with, I'm just excited to get over there and getting to know everyone on and off the field.”
Hodgson will arrive in the Nation’s Capital a week prior to the commencement of pre-season training but in the meantime, he is eagerly looking forward to this Sunday’s Grand Final and in particular, the match-up between Burgess and Graham.
“It's good to see English blokes going over and making a success of themselves,” he said. “Burgess and Graham were both top players in the Super League so hopefully I can work hard and do the same as them in the NRL.”