Sport Rugby League Hodges can’t replace Boyd full-time

Hodges can’t replace Boyd full-time

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So much for Plan B.

Justin Hodges, 32, says he will support Darius Boyd on the “long, hard road” back from a ruptured Achilles tendon that will sideline him for up to nine months.

But the Broncos veteran centre considered an ideal replacement for the star recruit said his injury-plagued body would not be able to handle a full-time switch to fullback.

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Boyd will undergo surgery on Tuesday after going down on Friday in just his first full week of training back at the NRL club.

It is a worst-case scenario for Brisbane who cut star fullbacks Josh Hoffman and Ben Barba in the off-season to create salary-cap space for Boyd.

“It’s tough mate, I’ve really enjoyed my time here, I’ve only been here for a week,” Boyd told Fox Sports.

“It’s exciting times ahead and I’m sorry I can’t be there with the boys but I’ll be back and it’s going to make me a stronger person in six months’ time.”

Hodges knew only too well the battle Boyd faced, twice coming back from the same serious injury.

He missed all of 2010 but made a remarkable recovery after going down again in 2013, returning five weeks earlier than expected in April.

“The Achilles was always the worst one to come back from,” said Hodges, who has battled numerous complaints.

“It’s a long hard road but I am here to help him and we also have great staff.”

Boyd said he had only spoken to Hodges last week about his Achilles injury.

“He was saying it feels like someone’s kicked you from behind,” he said.

“It’s disheartening and it’ll be tough work to get back.

“But I’ll be stronger and more determined to get back and play for the Broncos again.”

Filling in for an injured Hoffman, Hodges shone at fullback late in 2014, steering Brisbane to a last-gasp finals berth.

However, Hodges said he would only consider donning No.1 if he could share the role with the likes of Anthony Milford, recruited from Canberra to play at five-eighth.

“I won’t be putting my hand up (for fullback),” Hodges said.

“To do it for 24 weeks would be pretty tough on the body.

“I enjoyed the role this year but it took longer to recover.

“But there’s ways we can work around it – I can swap with Milf but that’s up to Wayne (Bennett).”

Teammate reported hearing a popping sound when Boyd went down during Friday’s early morning session.

“They were just doing a simple training drill … and Darius did a turn and that’s as simple as it will be – it’s no-one’s fault, it just happens,” Bennett said in a statement.

“I wish it didn’t happen but it’s happened.

“Halfway through the season he will be back playing for us, we’ll manage it while he’s away and get on with life.”


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