Bulldogs halves duo Josh Reynolds and Trent Hodkinson are all smiles after the Blues’ 6-4 victory over Queensland. Photo: Jonathan Carroll Trent Hodkinson with the kicking tee that helped slot the hoodoo-ending goal. Photo: Rob Homer
The only thing harder than scoring a try in Wednesday night’s State of Origin was converting it.
When Trent Hodkinson crossed for the only try of the game, the joy was tempered by the fact it may mean nothing if he didn’t turn four points into six. In the end, his aim was straight and the kick was the difference between the two sides.
“I was walking back for the conversion, I looked over and thought ‘Ooh, that’s a bit wider than what I thought. I thought I’d come around closer to the posts,” Hodkinson said. “I worked hard during the week, I was disappointed with the conversions in game I. I just went through my routine, took a deep breath and slotted it over.”
Hodkinson pays tribute to young players doing it tough every game by inscribing their name on his kicking tee. In what he described as the most important kick ever – performed in front of a crowd of 83,421 – he dedicated this one to Curtis Landers, the young rugby league player who broke his neck last month playing for the Forster-Tuncurry Hawks.
“Curtis is doing it tough at the moment and if that put a smile on his face for a while, it was unreal,” he said. “It gave me that extra motivation to put the two points over.”
Just a few weeks ago, the Canterbury halfback looked at the calendar, saw they had a game against the Roosters, and figured it would be a good time to get them because their halves would be away on Origin duty. But in a bizarre twist of fate, Hodkinson was called up and scored the try which ended eight years of Maroons dominance.
“I saw a bit of space on the short side so it was an overcall,” he said. “I got outside a defender there and they were going to hold off on Hoffy [Ryan Hoffman], who was running a great line all night, he was holding Cherry [Daly Cherry-Evans] up. It opened up and I went through. It was amazing.”
Having realised his dream of playing for the Blues, Hodkinson won’t be relinquishing his jersey without a fight. “I’d like to wear it for as long as possible,” he said. “Anything can happen, you’ve got to keep on your game and keep working hard.”