How ‘Hook’ got Hodgo fired up

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IN THE end, it was a move that made Peter Wallace’s NRL career.

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Broncos training at Red Hill. Coach Anthony Griffin and Justin Hodges. Pic Jono Searle

IN THE end, it was a move that made Peter Wallace’s NRL career.

But Justin Hodges has revealed he confronted then-Brisbane coach Anthony Griffin after his decision to axe Wallace from the Broncos in 2013 left him fuming.

Ex-Brisbane half Wallace has reinvented himself as Penrith hooker and will again be the danger man when he lines up against his old club in Friday night’s NRL semi-final at Suncorp Stadium.

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Former Broncos skipper and NRL star Justin Hodges. Source: News Corp Australia

In perhaps an even stranger twist, Wallace has launched his rejuvenation under the man who showed him the door at Brisbane — Griffin, who took over the Panthers last year.

Broncos great Hodges says he is happy good mate Wallace had regained his best at Penrith.

But the former captain admitted he was so angry with Griffin’s decision to ditch Wallace that he took the coach to task.

“I wasn’t happy, he was a great player. He is a guy I loved playing with,” Hodges told Fox Sports’ Queenslanders Only.

“He is probably one of the toughest guys around.

“No matter how the game was going he would put his body on the line for you.”

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(L-R) Justin Hodges and Peter Wallace at Brisbane Broncos training. Picture: Darren England Source: News Limited

Hodges said he understood Griffin’s logic behind Wallace making way for emerging halfback Ben Hunt but admitted he took the decision personally. “I felt I had to question it. I was a senior player and he was one of my best mates,” Hodges said.

“I had a good chat with Hook (Griffin) on why he wanted to get rid of him.

“They wanted to bring Hunty on which I understood but I took it personally.

“I had to say something because he was my friend.”

Hodges may have lost his cool over Griffin’s call but Queensland great Billy Moore believed Wallace should be credited for not doing the same.

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(L-R) former Brisbane coach Anthony Griffin and Justin Hodges. Picture: Jono Searle Source: News Limited

Wallace has made the Panthers No. 9 jersey his own and appeared to be cruelly denied his first NSW call-up in eight years when he broke down with a groin injury 24 hours before the Blues team was named in May.

“The way he has gone on shows a lot about his character, that he didn’t drop his bundle. And he is a better player now than he was five years ago,” Moore said.

Hodges may not have been a happy camper at the time but Kangaroos coach Mal Meninga agreed Wallace’s Broncos axing proved to be the best career move for the veteran playmaker.

“That move was probably the making of Peter Wallace,” Meninga said. “If it wasn’t for injury he may have played for NSW this year.”

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    Article How ‘Hook’ got Hodgo fired up compiled by www.news.com.au

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