Justin Hodges could not have done any more to get Brisbane home in Friday night’s NRL clash with long-time enemies Melbourne.
The Storm took the clash 19-18, their 11th win over Brisbane from their last 13 meetings, but Hodges did everything in his power to snap the Broncos’ five-game losing streak in front of 41,467 fans at Suncorp Stadium.
The classy centre put Brisbane ahead with a classic side-stepping try in the seventh minute and for the next 73 minutes kept the statistician busy charting his progress.
In the end, Hodges finished the match with the most runs (20), most off loads (six) and most line breaks (two) as well making a staggering 202 metres – 40 more than Melbourne’s best, winger Sisa Waqa (162 metres).
Throw in his second half verbal spray of Storm centre Justin O’Neill after he went down in a tackle and it was a huge but unrewarding night for the Queensland and Australia representative whose work out of dummy half kept Brisbane in the game.
“I thought he was outstanding,” said Brisbane coach Anthony Griffin, who also praised halves Peter Wallace and Ben Hunt.
“I thought Ben Hunt came up with some great stuff before he had the ball slapped out of his hands (for Cronk’s match winning field goal).
“We’ve got to win a game or a couple of games of football and we’ll get a chance to win the hole thing and that’s what we’re concentrating on.”
Griffin is hoping to have forwards Josh McGuire (eye) and Alex Glenn (hamstring) back for the crunch clash with Manly next week.
Hunt, who has made the most of his promotion from the bench to five-eighth with Corey Norman’s shift to fullback last week against Canterbury, said Brisbane could use a touch of luck.
“We’ve got to keep our heads up. We were right in that game and if we keep working hard things will turn for us,” said Hunt.
Hunt said he was starting to involve himself more in plays following a few games in the No.6 and was looking forward to next weeks clash with Manly at Brookvale Oval.
“Obviously we’re all a bit disappointed but there was great effort tonight and if we keep that up we know things are going to go our way eventually,” he said.
Brisbane skipper Sam Thaiday had no complaints about a whack in the face that landed Storm forward Bryan Norrie on report in the 69th minute for raising his forearm.
Thaiday reeled out of the attempted tackle and required medical attention after the incident.
“There was nothing in it, that’s footy,” he said.
“Those things happen and you can’t say there was intent.
“I’m all good, I’m ugly enough anyway.”