Retired Brisbane skipper Justin Hodges is confident he has left a culture of success behind him at the Broncos.
Hodges was a key figure in the Broncos’ last grand final appearance before this year, their 2006 premiership win.
The 33-year-old was also instrumental in the club’s surge to this season’s decider that resulted in a 17-16 loss to North Queensland at ANZ Stadium on Sunday.
The match was Hodges’ 251st and final NRL game.
He played 17 matches for the club in 2000-01, 58 matches for Sydney Roosters between 2002-04 and made 176 more appearance for the Broncos from 2005-2015.
The Queensland and Australian representative takes a lot of experience with him on his departure from Red Hill. But he said the future of the Broncos is in good hands.
“That is all I can ask for as a leader, when you play for the Broncos you put everything in, there are so many great players that have come before us that have put their bodies on the line,” Hodges said.
“We didn’t get the result we wanted but in my eyes it was never about winning the grand final it was about getting here. If it happened it happened but I couldn’t be more proud of my boys.
“I love them dearly and it is hard for them. I am fine for my boys they are feeling it hard. But they are only going to learn from it. They are a good young side and they will bounce back.”
Hodges said he didn’t have any regrets about his retirement. He said he was pleased for his Australian and Queensland teammate Johnathan Thurston, who led the Cowboys to their maiden NRL triumph and claimed the Clive Churchill Medal.
“I’m happy for Thurston, he is up there with one of the greatest players to have played our game,” Hodges said.