Surprise Dally M leader and Canberra rake Josh Hodgson deserves to be considered one of the premier hookers in the NRL, according to his English teammate James Graham.
Hodgson leads the Dally M count after four rounds with 10 of a possible 12 points having helped the Raiders to two wins and a draw to start the season.
Canterbury skipper Graham, whose side will meet the Raiders at Belmore Sports Ground on Monday, said Hodgson deserved to be spoken about in the same breath as Melbourne’s Cameron Smith and Wests Tigers’ Robbie Farah.
Since arriving at Canberra last year, Hodgson has established himself as one of the best Englishman in the NRL along with Graham and South Sydney’s Sam Burgess.
It would be a rare achievement should he go on to win the award with the last overseas player to take out the Dally M as the game’s best player being New Zealand halfback Gary Freeman – back in 1992.
“I’m really pleased for him to be playing well. I know he’s worked really hard on his game. He was really excited about the opportunity to come out here and play,” Graham said.
“He’s knuckled down and he’s one of the leading nines in the competition now.”
Graham first came across Hodgson when they were picked together in the England squad for the 2014 Four Nations.
On that tour Hodgson was disciplined when a video in which he ran through a door at a party went viral on the internet.
Graham said while few Australian fans had heard of him before he arrived here, he deserved praise for not just cutting it in the NRL, but for breaking into the top echelon of the game’s best No.9s.
“He’s come from England with people not knowing that much about him but Ricky Stuart and the staff at Canberra have really got the best out of him,” Graham said.
“He’s come into a really intense environment and I think the style of play over here really suits him, he’s working so hard for that team.”