The Canberra Raiders have continued the re-signing of their biggest stars, with Josh Hodgson agreeing to a new deal with the club until the end of the 2022 season.
The new contract is an extension of his current deal which finishes at the end of the 2018 season and makes him the first player to be signed with the Raiders until 2022.
Currently in camp with England as they prepare for the World Cup Semi-Final against Tonga, Hodgson said he’s excited to remain in Canberra and said he’s looking forward to the club continuing to be successful in the seasons ahead.
“There’s no way I’d sign long term if I didn’t believe this group of players were able to achieve great things, so a big part of the decision was staying at a club who I believe will have long-term success,” he said. “We know our results last season were not acceptable and I know the group is already back in Canberra working hard to make sure things are better in 2018 and beyond that.
“I’m really enjoying the World Cup experience and hopefully we can continue through the tournament, but I’m also looking forward to getting home and working with the rest of the squad as we get ready for next season.”
Hodgson said the Raiders had been the reason for his decision to move across the globe and the city of Canberra had been one of the main reasons he’s decided to stay.
“Canberra’s been a home away from home for us and I know my wife Kirby and I have really enjoyed our time here and want this to be our home for the next few years as we raise our family,” Hodgson said. “The club was fantastic in helping us make the transition from England to Australia, and so far, we’ve been able to make some wonderful friends and settle into the community.
“The players were fantastic from the moment we arrived and the current group is a wonderful bunch of blokes who I believe have their best footy ahead of them.”
Hodgson said the relationship between himself and Coach Ricky Stuart was another reason for his decision and said it’s been wonderful working with a Coach who respects his players and their input into the team.
“Ricky’s been great for my career and we’re able to learn from each other which is important for a senior player and Coach,” he said. “We’ve worked really hard at finding the right balance between the coaching staff and players and this will only improve as we spend more time working together.”
Raiders CEO Don Furner said the club was confident in their decision to retain Hodgson on a long-term deal and his value for the club both on and off the field were important factors in the new contract.
“It’s the longest contract we’ve done for some time and it reflects our faith that we have in Josh of being a leader of this group and how committed to the Raiders he is,” Furner said. “Josh moved to Canberra with his wife and then started a family here, so it’s also a great endorsement for our club and city to have him commit long term.”
“From a football perspective Josh brings experience, leadership and professionalism to the team and he’s demonstrated over the past three seasons how valuable he is to our organisation.”