26 Mar 2011

Hodges returns to help lift Broncos over Titans

5:49 pm on 26 March 2011

In a game for the script writers, Brisbane centre Justin Hodges returned from 585 days in NRL rugby league exile to deliver a knockout blow and keep the Gold Coast Titans winless in 2011.

Gold Coast centre Steve Michaels had scored a brilliant individual try against his former club on the stroke of half-time which looked to have set the Titans on the road to victory.

But Hodges' 71st minute try broke an 8-8 deadlock and sealed a 14-8 win for the Broncos.

Hodges had not played a game since Brisbane's exit from the 2009 finals.

He ruptured his Achilles in November 2009, missing the entire 2010 season and suffered a hamstring injury in the pre-season trials to further delay his comeback.

After conceding a stripping penalty which allowed Titans halfback Scott Prince to lock the scores up with 10 minutes remaining, Hodges redeemed himself, reminding fans of his match-winning abilities by fending off tackles by Greg Bird and Esi Tonga to score the crucial try.

Brisbane lost fullback Josh Hoffman late in the first half to a lower leg injury while Titans forward Ashley Harrison failed to finish the game after what appeared to be a hamstring injury.