In what will be a great boost for the Broncos ahead of their clash this week, the Broncos have begun negotiations with their star centre, who also wants to stay at the club until the end of the 2014 season.
George Mimis, Hodges’ manager met with the Broncos operation chief Andrew Gee on Wednesday, who are in preliminary talks with Hodges, who will probably get $350,000 a year for his new deal.
Many thought that Hodges would perhaps not be at this point, after his 2010 season, whereby he suffered a snapped achilles, with the club standing by him through it all, and confirming the deal was a part of his never-say-die attitude and love for the club.
“Hodgo has had a very testing last 18 months,” Gee said.
“But he’s come through it beautifully and the club is very keen to secure him long term.
“He has matured a lot. The thing I know about Justin is he loves the club and everytime he goes on to the field he gives it everything and we’d love to keep him here.”
With Hodges the primary target for retention for 2012, the Broncos are also working on securing the services of second-rower Corey Parker, and props Scott Anderson and Dane Carlaw.
“With Corey, we’ll sit down with him shortly,” Gee said.
“We are very keen for him to stay here and he made it clear to us that he intends to be a one-team player.”
With rumours surfacing a while back that Hodges would be heading to England, this was quickly dismissed, but not before he suffered a bout of depression 2 years ago, that also threatened his career.
“Justin definitely has an aspiration to finish his career at the Broncos and we’re working towards that now,” he said.
“Where he is at right now, he’s in a good physical and mental state and that’s reflected in what we’re seeing from him.
“He’s happy to be in a team going really well on the field and most importantly Justin is evolving into a role model for some of the younger brigade at the Broncos.”
Despite having battled several big injuries, Mimis think that Hodges can continue to play into his 30’s, much like several players have already done, and are doing.
“Justin is still only 28 and you’d like to think he has a lot of good footy left in him. There are players in the NRL playing at 33, 34, 35 so Justin has a number of years left in the game,” he said.
“I don’t think this will be his last contract. It would be wonderful for Justin to play out his career at the Broncos, a lot depends on his body.”