Hodges Flying The Coop
If good things come to those who wait, then Jayden Hodges can expect a large fortune soon.
Hodges has been in a league of his own in the VB NSW Cup this season, and while he has only played two first-grade games this season, he knows that he is on course for the NRL.
“I believe I should be playing first grade,” said Hodges.
“That’s not being arrogant, I just feel confident in where I’m at in my career, I’m feeling good about my footy.”
In his nine first grade games since 2013, Hodges short NRL resume includes three finals appearances for the North Queensland Cowboys and Manly Sea Eagles.
He scored a vital try in last years’ semi final for the Sea Eagles against the Bulldogs on the stroke of halftime, and while they lost the match 17-18, his inclusion in the side for such a big game proves he is destined for the NRL.
One’s loss is another’s gain and Sea Eagles VB NSW Cup coach Luke Williams certainly appreciates having Hodges in the side.
“I know it’s disappointing he’s not playing first grade, but we’re very happy to have him on board,” said Williamson.
“He’s exceptional, he’s very important. He’s that third or fourth attacking option, so he’s great out of dummy half. I know the other players get a lot of confidence playing with Jayden.”
While Hodges is in sublime form out of dummy half this season, it’s his ability to play within the team that puts him apart from many others.
“Whether it’s coming off the bench or playing wherever for the team, I’m a team player, and whatever [Geoff Toovey] goes with I’m comfortable with that, I’m all for the team,” says Hodges.
Hodges admits tasting finals football greatly motivates him to secure his spot in the first grade.
“It was an awesome experience, the crowd and the atmosphere was crazy and the stadium was just packed,” said Hodges.
“That experience is what keeps me going, I got a taste of it now and I just want to keep trying to succeed.”
Hodges is the complete package. He is extremely dangerous out of dummy half, and throughout the year he has scored five tries from that position, as well as creating several more with his kicking and crafty passing game.
Defensively, he almost has 500 tackles for the season, despite missing two games due to first grade call-ups.
“Playing first grade- it’s out of your control, it’s up to the coaches,” said Hodges. “But I think that’s all you can do- just play your best every week.”
If patience is a virtue then it won’t be long until Hodges starts racking up the statistics in first-grade.