Legend backs his beloved Maroons
RUGBY LEAGUE: Justin Hodges reckons the Queensland side's self-belief is the reason his beloved Maroons will continue their domination against New South Wales next Wednesday night.
The Maroon and Brisbane Broncos great was a special guest at the NAIDOC celebrations in Gladstone on Tuesday and he said experience will be key against a young and quick Blues outfit.
"The Queensland side is always going to be hard to beat and they're a team that have been together for a long time now and they have a lot of trust in each other," 2006 Brisbane Broncos grand final-winning full-back Hodges said.
Hear the full interview here:
To keep New South Wales second-guessing is something Hodges believes will be an important ingredient toward bringing another series win to Queensland - potentially its 11th since 2006.
Justin Hodges speaks at NAIDOC:
"The Queensland boys will just keep turning up for each other," he said.
"If you keep doing that, then you tend to break down New South Wales and that's something that we always try to do as a side to make sure we break them down and make them figure out what can they do next."
Queensland's task will be made all the more difficult without the services of Origin specialist Johnathan Thurston who is out with a serious shoulder injury.
"Kevin Munster I believe will be the five-eighth and Morgo (Michael Morgan) will probably go into the centres there, but you never are going to replace a guy like that," Hodges said in reference to Thurston.
Hopefully Cameron (Smith) will come in and just do his job," Hodges said.
"Obviously he plays with the Storm there with Billy (Slater) and Cooper (Cronk) each week so the combination will be there already for us."
Hodges, who has had two stints with the Broncos in 2000-01 and again from 2005-15, played a total of 251 NRL games that included 58 with Sydney Roosters from 2002-04.
He also represented Queensland 24 times and donned the Australian jersey on 13 occasions as well as playing for the Indigenous All Stars three times (2012-15).
TEAMS: Queensland Maroons - 1. Billy Slater, 2. Valentine Holmes, 3. Will Chambers, 4. Michael Morgan, 5. Dane Gagai, 6. Cameron Munster, 7. Cooper Cronk, 8. Dylan Napa, 9. Cameron Smith (capt), 10. Jarrod Wallace, 11. Gavin Cooper, 12. Matt Gillett, 13. Josh McGuire. Interchange: 14. Ben Hunt, 15. Josh Papalii, 16. Coen Hess, 17. Tim Glasby. 18th man: Felise Kaufusi.
NSW: 1. James Tedesco, 2. Brett Morris, 3. Josh Dugan, 4. Jarryd Hayne, 5. Blake Ferguson, 6. James Maloney, 7. Mitchell Pearce, 8. Aaron Woods, 9. Nathan Peats, 10. Andrew Fifita, 11. Boyd Cordner (c), 12. Josh Jackson, 13. Tyson Frizell. Interchange: 14. David Klemmer, 15. Wade Graham, 16. Jake Trbojevic, 17. Jack Bird. 18th man: Jack de Belin.