Broncos trash talker Justin Hodges was dealt with harshly tonight, the try scoring centre outted for 2 games after his weekend gesture at NRL referee Tony Archer last round.
The NRL Judiciary panel consisting of Mal Cochrane, Bob Lindner and Darrell Williams took just 30 minutes before dealing the ban to Hodges, enforcing the grade one contrary conduct citing.
Hodges, fresh from a 6-match ban for a dangerous tackle, will now be unavailable for Broncos’ matches against the Warriors and Dragons, games that could prove critical to the Broncos chances for a Top 4 berth.
“I’m very disappointed with the outcome, I’m thankful I got a good hearing,” Hodges said.
“I’m just going to serve my time and I’ll then look forward to coming back in two weeks and playing some good footy.”
Regardless of how severe the punishment may seem for Hodges, the outspoken star has already created a rod for his own back. A known trasher talker and on field niggler, Hodges is forever giving it to opponents and if he isn’t talking tough he is tapping blokes on the head and generally causing trouble.
Justin Hodges famously invited Ryan Girdler into the carpark for a stoush after a game a few years ago and this latest suspension might be just what he needs to be brought back into line.
The contrary conduct issue occurred 60 minutes into the Broncos game last week after Archer gave a penalty to Canberra when he deemed Brisbane winger Denan Kemp had illegally stripped the ball.
Hodges raised his right arm in a “up yours” salute behind Archer, who did not see the gesture.
He contended it was not directed towards Archer, who he said he thought had made the right decision.
Hodges said it was a gesture of frustration at the Broncos surrendering possession.
He didn’t agree with judiciary counsel Peter Kite’s contention that he had issued an “up yours” type gesture at the referee and revealed it was a motion he had used away from the rugby league field.
“I used it a few times at the race track getting home a horse.” Hodges said.
Hodges’ counsel Jim Hall said no abuse had accompanied the gesture and Archer could not have taken offence to it as he did not see the action.
Archer had his back to Hodges, who had urged him to look up at the big screen replay.
“It (the gesture) wasn’t directed at the referee,” Hodges said.
“It was just a bit of frustration.”