No NRL rest for Hodges: Bennett

Unlike North Queensland, Brisbane coach Wayne Bennett has no plans to rest key representative players despite Justin Hodges fighting his way back from a hamstring injury.

Bennett said he had never considered following the Cowboys’ lead and placing Hodges on ice to ease him through the representative period after confirming his captain would run out in their Anzac Day NRL clash with Parramatta at Suncorp Stadium.

Injury-plagued Hodges – 33 in May – was not initially named for Saturday night’s showdown after failing to emerge in the second half of last round’s loss to the Dragons.

It was believed Bennett had been tempted to rest Hodges just like the Cowboys plan to do with workaholic prop and co-captain Matt Scott with May 1’s trans-Tasman Test and State of Origin series on the horizon.

However, Bennett said giving Hodges a break was the last thing on his mind as the Broncos tackled what he rated the “tightest competition in 10 years”.

“No one is interested in resting him,” he said.

“I have no plan at all. I don’t even know who is going to be in Origin.

“I am trying to get a whole squad ready – other than that I have no plans.”

Asked what he thought of Cowboys coach Paul Green’s plan to rest Scott and possibly playmaker Johnathan Thurston during the rep period, Bennett said: “Best of luck to them – I hope they can do it.”

Bennett said he left the final word on Hodges’ fitness to the man himself before confirming his line-up.

Hodges will slot into the centres with Lachlan Maranta at fullback and Jack Reed replacing Daniel Vidot on the wing.

Third-placed Brisbane had their five-game winning streak broken last round.

Meanwhile, Bennett admitted frustration over facing Eels playmaker and ex-Bronco Corey Norman on Saturday night after the previous coach let him go in 2013.

“There are a lot of talented (ex-Bronco) players that are playing for other clubs now – we have to make sure that doesn’t keep happening,” he said.

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