The fact Justin Hodges will walk away from representative football after this State of Origin series has finally been accepted by Queensland teammate Sam Thaiday.
But the Maroons back-rower is not ready yet to give up on the veteran centre playing one more NRL season for Brisbane.
Queensland teammates admit sending off 33-year-old Hodges as an Origin series winner is at the back of their minds ahead of Wednesday night’s game two clash at the MCG.
“Hodgo is one of the legends of the side. It’s his last year of Origin and no doubt the guys playing with him don’t want to let him down,” Maroons back-rower Matt Gillett said.
“And we know he will do everything he can to win that game – we are all behind him.”
Hodges has a year left on his Broncos NRL contract but he did not rule out calling time if Queensland sealed their ninth Origin series in 10 years.
However, off-contract Broncos teammate Thaiday hoped Hodges would be running out again next year in Brisbane colours.
“Yeah I would (want him to play another year),” he said.
“I think we have a fantastic mix at the Broncos at the moment, with Corey (Parker), Justin and myself – if one of those guys leaves it will leave a hole.
“They have been fantastic for our young guys coming through.
“We have tried to step up as much as we can to lift their game and they have done that this year.
“It would be good to see him go around again – if he does go I will miss him.”
Asked if he hoped to join him at Red Hill in 2016, Thaiday said: “I hope so, that’s the plan.
“My management is up there at the moment trying to nut out some finer details.
“I haven’t been talking to anyone else – it’s purely been the Broncos.”
Thaiday will chime into a revitalised Queensland pack determined to learn from their first half mistakes in game one’s 11-10 win over the Blues in Sydney last month.
While the Maroons held their nerve with halfback Cooper Cronk kicking the match-winning field goal, Queensland’s pack was overwhelmed early by a NSW juggernaut led by starting props Aaron Woods and James Tamou and an all-forwards bench.
Thaiday admitted that threat would only be greater in game two with inspirational forward Paul Gallen (hip) returning for the Blues.
“They were very dominant in that first half,” Thaiday admitted.
“We have watched the video, we dissected the game.
“They had that good rotation with the big boys coming off the bench for them, and that will be on again.
“And I am sure Paul Gallen will want to come out and prove a point.”
Meanwhile, Thaiday has dismissed fears for Matt Scott despite the prop being rested with a knee infection the last two days.
It was initially believed Scott did not take part in Friday’s training session in Melbourne due to an ongoing back complaint.
However, it emerged a cut on Scott’s knee had become infected, ensuring the key forward remained sidelined.