Hodgson open to leaving Canberra Raiders

Out-of-favour hooker Josh Hodgson says he would understand if Canberra don't renew his contract.
Out-of-favour hooker Josh Hodgson says he would understand if Canberra don't renew his contract.

Josh Hodgson has rubbished reports of a rift with Canberra coach Ricky Stuart but has left the door open to leave the club if he's no longer the first choice No.9.

The English international stepped down from his role as Raiders captain recently, prompting speculation of a fall out between players and coach last week.

Brisbane quickly emerged as the next destination for the 31-year-old when his contract runs out at the end of 2022, with Tom Starling now the choice starting hooker for the Raiders.

On Wednesday, Hodgson spoke for the first time since the bombshell Broncos report, saying he was shocked but not naive to think he won't be forced out of the club.

"I'm not daft, I'm an old bloke and I've been around a while and I've still got a lot of years in me left, a good four or five years in me left," he said.

"Tommy's been playing some good footy and if he's the next generation of what they want to bring through the club, I'm fine with that.

"I love this club too much to let my own ego stand in the way, but that was the first I'd heard about (Brisbane). It was shock to me and a shock to my family."

Hodgson, once the club's best player, has been named on the bench to face Canterbury in Magic Round with Starling named to start at hooker.

It's a sign that things are changing in the nation's capital given the Raiders are struggling for form with just three wins this season.

However, Hodgson's decision to step down as co-captain weeks ago came as shock, prompting speculation of a fall out with Stuart.

He said is was one of the hardest decisions he's made in his career, but Stuart was supportive.

"Some of the stories have been laughable saying that me and Stick are fighting and arguing," Hodgson said.

"When I stepped down it couldn't be more amicable.

"We've got a pretty good relationship and business is business sometimes, so me and Rick will never blue in terms of in a big way. We're all good.

"It was the hardest decision I've made in my career.

"I just felt like it was right at the time."

At 31, Hodgson believes he still has plenty of football left in him beyond the end of his current contract and knows returning to form is key to creating options for his future.

"First preference would be to (stay in) Canberra, but first preference would be to win this weekend," he said.

"You've got to do what's best by you and best by your family.

"Your career is so short in terms of your life, you can't have any regrets and I haven't had any so far."

Australian Associated Press