When we were given the opportunity to interview the Canberra Raiders Captain, current England Hooker and former Hull KR star, Josh Hodgson, we decided to do things a little differently. So, the interview was conducted by Josh’s neice and nephews, Laila, Jeylan, Bailey and Berin. With family asking the questions there was no escaping!
Laila: Being a proud Hull lad which club do you support, FC or Rovers?
Josh: To be fair I’ve got to go with Hull KR. I started off with Hull FC and come through the ranks as a junior there. I played my first few games for FC, but I had 5 years at Hull KR and made some great friends. They gave me my opportunity to make it as a professional and play in Super League, so I’ve got to go with Hull KR.
Bailey: Having appeared in Super League 132 times for Rovers and twice for the mighty Hull FC, what was your most memorable match? And why?
Josh: There’s a couple of games to be fair. One of them was the game we beat Hull FC at the Magic Weekend when Dave Hodgson scored the try in the corner. That’s one of the most memorable ones. Also when we beat FC in the playoffs in 2010 and Peter Fox scored and we won that game. Those are the two that standout for me.
Jeylan: Who is the best player you’ve ever played with? And against?
Josh: I was fortunate when I was younger to play with some players who instilled a great mentality, work ethic and stuff like that. I wouldn’t like to pick one player but I’ve been lucky enough to play with Michael Dobson, Clint Newton, Ben Galea, Mick Vella and Scott Murrell. Those were the people who were influential on me. When I was a young kid, I was pretty lucky, that’s the most important age to have good people around you.
Laila: Who is the best coach you’ve ever worked with and why?
Josh: I can’t really pick one coach as they all have different traits of things you like and pick stuff from. I always got a massive amount of respect for the people who brought me through as a junior and Justin Morgan at Hull KR who gave me my chance. Moving on from Hull KR, Ricky Stewart (Canberra Raiders) has been a massive influence on me, on and off the field. He’s taught me a lot. I don’t want to name one but I just take as much as I can from different coaches.
Jeylan: Who is the toughest/hardest player you’ve ever come up against?
Josh: There isn’t one that stands out for being the toughest or the hardest but I’ve always been a massive fan of Corey Parker at Brisbane and he’s definitely one of the ones I’ve played against that I’ve admired for being tough week in week out and just a great professional in terms of being consistent as well.
Jeylan: Rugby League players pick up some weird nicknames. What’s the strangest one you’ve heard?
Josh: I haven’t heard loads of strange nicknames but just because I don’t really get why is Kurt Baptiste in our team. His nickname is ‘Tiger’! I’m not really sure why. I think it’s something to do with a night out and he had a terrible t-shirt on and it had, like tiger stripes on it so, I think it was something like that. It’s a bit of an odd one, he certainly looks nothing like a tiger.
Berin: You’ve said a number of times that you love playing and living in Australia, so are you concerned that Baby George won’t grow up with the world famous Hull accent?
Josh: No, not too concerned to be honest. The Hull accent tends to be pretty thick and I’m sure once he comes home and sees family, he’ll pick it up as he goes along. I’ll try and stop him talking as much Aussie as I can.
Laila: Four Nations. In the current England team who would you pick for these categories.
Team joker – There’s a few actually but I’d probably go with Scott Taylor. He’s funny and constant with it as well.
Team model – Elliot Whitehead definitely tries to be up there but he’s not. Team model, I’ll give Luke Gale a shout as he always looks pretty sharp. He’s not the best-looking kid in the world, but he’s definitely got the best gear.
Team hardest trainer – I think everyone’s pretty good at training to be fair. It’s hard to pick one out on that one.
Team Twitter fanatic – I don’t really know cos I’m not on it, but I’ll give that one to Scott Taylor. Every time I was with him he was always on it.
Bailey: Rugby League always has controversy around referees, so as a player who has experienced both do you prefer 2 refs or one on the pitch?
Josh: Yes, I definitely prefer 2. I think when you look at Super league and you only have one referee they tend to get away with a lot in the ruck. I think that makes it a lot slower as well. When you’ve got that second ref, the pocket ref, just telling you to move off the play the ball and communicating with the other ref it speeds the game up. You’re not going to get as many mistakes and 2 pairs of eyes is better than 1.
Jeylan: Who’s your Canberra roommate? Does he snore or have any annoying habits?
Josh: Roommate is Jack Wighton, we got paired up pretty early on me being at the Raiders and they’ve kept us together ever since. I think we get on so well because he doesn’t have any annoying habits or anything like that. We’re both pretty similar and like to lay up and watch a film before a game and order a bit of room service. So, nah, he doesn’t really have any annoying habits, he’s all good.
Berin: Does Canberra teammate Elliott Whitehead still pronounce Bradford as Bratfud or is he losing his broad West Yorkshire accent?
Josh: No, he’s starting to change a little bit to be fair. It was pretty thick when he first came but he’s had to change it cos no one could understand him. I was constantly being the translator at training so his Bratfud accent has gone.
Bailey: Apart from the weather what’s the main difference from playing in Super League to the NRL?
Josh: The difference is the speed of the game, it’s a lot quicker in the NRL, as I said earlier the 2 referees definitely helps that. The main difference is you’ve got to be on it, every week. I’ve said it before that in Super League if you’re playing someone near the bottom then you can get away with it and grab a win. Over there if you’re not at your best you’ll get beat more often than not, no matter who you’re playing. So, I’d say that’s the main difference.
Laila: Big brother Dave says you were a fantastic plasterer when you were younger, but if you weren’t an International Rugby League Superstar what would your job be?
Josh: Ha, ha. I definitely wasn’t a fantastic plasterer. I tried it once and was no good, so got put back to labouring. I think, I don’t know what my job would be to be. To be honest, I’d probably be on a building site labouring or something like it. I don’t know but I’d always have something to do with Rugby League, whether it’s at the amateur level, or anything like that cos I just love the sport, and love the feeling of being part of a Rugby League team. There really is nothing like it. I’m sure that anyone who’s been in a team, either amateur Rugby League or professional will always say the same, when you retire the stories you hear back is everybody misses it and wishes they could go back. I’m just cherishing every moment I have in it.
Berin: With a number of Super league players trying their luck in the NRL and not making it for one reason or another. You quite clearly have. What do you think is the key to living and playing in Australia is?
Josh: I’m not sure. I think everyone is different and every position brings its own challenges in the NRL. I think me personally, I just tried to get my head down, love what I do and practice every day. I like to pride myself on being good in all the little things and consistent every week. If you’re not constantly practicing, consistently training hard, then how can you expect to be consistent on the field. It’s an important thing to do and it’s something I try to pride myself on. I don’t know if that’s what it is, but I’m sure loving the game and loving my life helps me.
Berin: Can Canberra get to the NRL Grand Final next year?
Josh: Yes, I think we can. We just fell short this year. We had a good year but looking at the loss against Melbourne in the semi if we’d have gotten to the final we would have probably had Jarrod Croker, Joey Leilua and Josh Papali out. We’d have been struggling if we had made the final, it would have been tough ask. This year we’ve got a good squad and only a couple have gone with a few more coming in. I’m looking forward to meeting up with them and seeing what the new lads are like, getting settled in and getting going.
FanaticHull would like to say a huge thanks to all of the Hodgson Family. In particular, Annette for allowing her house to be used as the venue, Dave for doing as he’s told, Kirby for keeping baby George quiet, the interviewers Laila, Jeylan, Bailey and Berin, and finally Josh for sitting through this torment and answering our questions.