Josh Hodgson: 'Hull KR have a bright future, there is no need to leave'
PENNING a new deal which will keep him at Hull KR for the next four years, Josh Hodgson has bucked the recent trend at the Robins.
The focus of late at Craven Park has been mainly on player departures, as a string of stars have opted for pastures new next season.
Seeing full-back Shannon McDonnell, captain Ben Galea and England Knights forward Scott Taylor refuse new deals to move on, Hodgson could have been excused for having doubts about his own future.
But, after lengthy conversations with coach Craig Sandercock and chairman Neil Hudgell, he put pen to paper on a deal until the end of 2016 this week.
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In doing so, the 23-year-old hooker sent out a timely vote of confidence in those running the Robins.
"I had no hesitation staying at Rovers and I had never considered leaving. It was always a case of getting this new deal signed." Hodgson told the Mail.
"Neil is very passionate about the club and we had some long discussions about where Rovers are heading. We were both very positive about the future.
"He has asked me to be one of the leading players in ensuring the club gets to where it wants to be. That's an honour for me and is something I will take very seriously.
"Craig has given me some great opportunities this season, allowing me to experience playing in a number of positions, and he has always stood by me if I have made any mistakes.
"Chris Chester has also been a great support, so I want to repay all these people for their faith in me."
Hodgson could hardly do more than he has in the 2012 campaign.
He finished as the club's second top try scorer with 13 in Super League, just three behind Dave Hodgson.
He also walked away from the end-of-season dinner clutching awards for both coaches and players' player of the season, as well as tackle of the season.
But Hodgson is still looking to add extra value again next year.
"It was a very good season for me and I was pleased with the recognition at the awards night," he said.
"But I'm not going to sit back and be happy with that, I have to return next season and show it wasn't a flash in a pan. Anyone can have a good season, top players back it up year after year.
"I also want to be someone the younger players can turn to when they need advice.
"I have probably been in each of their positions at one time so I want to be there for them if they need me."
Whilst his personal awards ensured 2012 was the best season of his career so far, Rovers slumped to their worst finish in Hodgson's three years at Craven Park, finishing in 10th spot.
Despite the disappointment, Hodgson refuses to be downbeat and feels they can bounce back in 2013.
"As a team we fell short of our goals this season, but next year anything can happen," he said.
"You never know what's around the corner. Craig has brought some very good players to the club. We could win the competition or we could find ourselves struggling. Who knows?
"We just have to knuckle down and work hard as a group because we certainly have the quality to do well.
"There were 11 games last season that we lost by six points or less. A few wins from those games would have made a big difference."
One player Hodgson is keen to link-up with next season is half-back Travis Burns, signed on a three-year deal from the Penrith Panthers.
"I am sure Travis will quickly make it clear how he likes to play the games and what he expects, as all NRL stars do, and I am looking forward to working with him and seeing his style."
For now, a fractured foot, suffered training Skirlaugh, has left Hodgson kicking his heels and he missed out on last night's England Knights clash.
However, Rovers fans can rest assured that come the start of 2013, their top man will be ready to make his mark again.