Stuart pleasantly surprised by Hodgson’s progress

Zack Wilson

Canberra Raiders head coach Ricky Stuart has admitted that the way Josh Hodgson has adapted to life in the NRL has come as something of a surprise.

The former Hull KR hooker has been confirmed as the Green Machine’s captain for the 2017 season.

Last year was Hodgson’s second year in the NRL after moving to Raiders following six years in Super League.

He helped Canberra reach a preliminary final, he finished eighth in Dally M voting, and he won the Meninga Medal as the club’s best and fairest.

“No, I’d have to say I didn’t expect him to get to where his standing is in the game today as quick as he has,” Stuart told Australian media.

“He’s just excelled so much. You come back and see what he does around training and the extra work he does. The amount of individual practice, it doesn’t surprise you.

“He’s a fierce competitor, but he’s really bought into the community, he’s really bought into the Canberra Raiders.

“He and his young family have a great standing in our club already, [despite] being here such a short time.

“For us to make him captain of the club whilst Jarrod’s out is a great honour for him. I know he’s very proud.

“I spoke to him about it the other day. Josh has got a lot of belief from the coaches and he believes in the direction we’re going as well, so it’s a good fit.”

Hodgson himself is relishing the skipper’s role.

“I wanted to come here and be a leader, I think that’s something the club needed at that time,” he said.