Rugby League

England and Canberra Raiders hooker Josh Hodgson 'embarrassed' and 'angry'

EXCLUSIVE

England and Canberra Raiders hooker Josh Hodgson doesn't shy from the irony of the inked phrase looping his right forearm. "Opportunity doesn't knock, it presents itself when you beat the door down," his tattoo reads.

Raiders recruit and England hooker, Josh Hodgson.
Raiders recruit and England hooker, Josh Hodgson. Photo: Rohan Thomson

Hodgson says he's "embarrassed" and "angry" at his own "stupidity", admitting his drunken stunt of charging through a student dormitory door in New Zealand after the Four Nations Test on the weekend had created a bad first impression on the NRL.

But the 25-year-old arrived in Canberra on Monday night and immediately threw himself into training on Tuesday morning, vowing to prove the incident was out-of-character and to redeem himself for his new NRL club and country.

A screenshot showing Josh Hodgson run through the door.
A screenshot showing Josh Hodgson run through the door. 

Hodgson said he woke up on Sunday morning and "cringed", well before video footage of the incident was released on social media of him bursting through a door at a student party. Hodgson faces internal discipline from England, including paying damages, but said he's beating himself up over the incident too.

"It was stupidity on my part to go ahead and do something like that," Hodgson said.

Advertisement

"The people who owned the place were saying the door was getting replaced anyway [it had two previous holes], so to just go ahead and do it. There was obviously people filming and cheering me on ... I still shouldn't have done it. If someone tells you to jump off a bridge you don't do it. I'll cop what punishment I get from it, move on and learn from it.

"The next morning I was embarrassed, it was one of those moments where you cringe straight away and think 'why did I do that?'

"I was nervous to speak to the [Raiders] and nervous with England to tell them what happened.  I didn't want Canberra thinking they'd just signed someone who's pretty loose, couldn't be bothered and was just going to come here and have incidents like this on a recurring theme. That's not me, that's not what I'm about.

"I've probably made a bad impression for myself at Canberra and as a player in the NRL just moving over here, which I'm pretty disappointed and angry with myself about. I'm sure my other club, Hull KR, would vouch for me saying they didn't have any hiccups with me. Overall I'm a pretty professional kid and I was disappointed in myself. I just want to try and move on from it, I don't want to be dwelling on me being a bit of an idiot and letting myself and the team down.

"I don't think it puts extra pressure on me as a rugby player ... I'm only human and I made a mistake. As long as you learn from your mistakes."

Hodgson made his international debut for England in the Four Nations tournament, starting the first two Tests before being dropped for the third and final match against New Zealand.

Hodgson has spoken with England coach, Steve McNamara, a known disciplinarian, and hoped it wouldn't count against future selection. 

"He was pretty good about it, he supported me as well as letting me know I'd stepped out of line," Hodgson said.

"I didn't play anywhere near as well as I can do [in the Four Nations], I was off the boil ... I was pretty disappointed on a personal level how I played in the tournament.

"I hope I can do a good job over here, play some of my best rugby and get a chance to play for my country again."

Hodgson shakes his head with embarrassment when there is mention of the tattoo on his forearm.

"As much as that is very ironic, I'm a big believer in working hard to go and get things. That's the type of person I am. I wasn't the kid was who naturally gifted with an abundance of talent, I had to work hard to be the player I am and I'll continue to work hard to try and become a better player."

The Raiders paid a big transfer fee to Hull KR to have Hodgson released from the final two years of his deal in the UK Super League, such was their interest in signing him.

Not content to just make up for his off-field indiscretion, Hodgson said he wanted to prove himself as a leader at the Raiders over the next two seasons. Hodgson's partner, Kirby, arrived in Canberra last week to set up their new home.

"I was a co-captain at Hull KR alongside Travis Burns," Hodgson said. "I'd like to think I could be one of the senior blokes in the side. Obviously I've made a mistake off the field, but I'd like to think that once the boys get to know me they can realise I'm a professional overall.

"It was a tough decision to leave [Hull KR], but when Canberra came in I thought I can't turn this opportunity down, it's a massive opportunity to come and play in the NRL. People say it's the best league in the world and I wanted to test myself here.

"I want to make it a home, I'm not going to use any club as a stop-gap. I'm here because I want to be at the Canberra Raiders and I'm excited about getting the team going. My long-term ambitions are to hopefully stay in the NRL."