Rooster may join battle to save Hodges
BRISBANE will leave no stone unturned in its battle to get captain Justin Hodges cleared to make what could be a fairytale farewell in Sunday's all-Queensland NRL grand final.
The Broncos' case will even include strong evidence from his victim, Roosters back-rower Aidan Guerra, at tonight's judiciary hearing where Hodges will need to have the charge dismissed to line up on Sunday.
Ironically, the champion centre, who required a pain-killing injection for a back injury during the first half of Brisbane's preliminary final win over the Roosters last Friday night, was unable to complete training at Red Hill yesterday, with Jordan Kahu running in his place.
Roosters chief executive Brian Canavan told APN the club did not have a problem with Guerra giving evidence before the judiciary on behalf of Hodges.
Guerra said at the weekend he had deliberately jumped forward in the offending tackle in a bid to earn his side a penalty.
While Canavan did not know if Guerra would front the judiciary, there was a feeling the Queensland Origin forward would testify on the Brisbane captain's behalf in a bid to allow him to play his last game in the grand final.
"He hasn't talked to the club about it, but we wouldn't have a problem if he wanted to appear as a witness for Justin," Canavan said.
Former Balmain prop Steve Roach, who missed the Tigers' 1988 grand final loss to the Bulldogs because of a suspension for striking, said it would be a grave injustice if Hodges missed a grand final when there was no malice in his tackle, and given Guerra's comments.
"If it was a deliberate stiff arm or a spiteful head high, something like that or something dirty that was against the laws of the game, I could understand," Roach told APN.
"It was an accident and it would be an injustice if that cost him a grand final.
"I think he'll get off, especially after what Guerra has said."
Should Hodges fail to win his case, he would be the 13th player to miss the decider since legendary prop Arthur Beetson was denied a grand final appearance with Eastern Suburbs back in 1968.
However, none of the previous 12 players were playing the final game of their careers, so for Hodges the pain of missing out would be compounded.
In the past 46 years, teams who lose star players for the grand final don't have a great record.
In fact only four of the 12 teams - Balmain (Beetson 1969), Canberra (John Lomax in 1994), Brisbane (Peter Ryan in 1994) and South Sydney (Issac Luke in 2014) - went on to win after having a key player suspended.