Former Raiders dummy-half Josh Hodgson has spoken about the end of his tenure in the nation's capital, expressing his frustration at spending the final year of his time in green riding the pine after his third knee reconstruction.
But despite the disappointment, Hodgson was determined that his time in the NRL wouldn't end on such a disappointing note.
“The easy road would have been to retire,” Hodgson told the Daily Telegraph.
“At 33 after my third knee people would've pulled the pin, getting a pay out to sit on the beach and drink a beer instead of working your ass off.
“I want to win. A person who has hunger is more dangerous than someone who wants to take the easy way out.”
Hodgson had already signed a deal to join Parramatta before he sustained the season-ending injury last year amid changes to his on-field role. Though he was frustrated by being unable to play, he believes the Raiders – who he represented for eight seasons – were in a good place moving forward.
“I felt like the next wave of kids were coming through at Canberra,” Hodgson said.
“I love the club and didn't want to leave them in the lurch but I felt like they were in good hands.
“In 2021 I was playing good footy but I was playing 60 minutes at loose forward after starting the game at nine.
“I didn't want to transition into a loose forward. I wanted to be one of the best nines in the game and I was seeking out a challenge to do that.”
That challenge has presented itself at the Eels, where Hodgson will replace Reed Mahoney in the starting line-up.
Though Hodgson still has to wait to resume contact training, he's ready to hit the ground running – and after the Eels' grand final disappointment in 2022, he knows he can relate to his new teammates after losing a Grand Final himself in 2019.
“Losing gives you this feeling that has stuck with me every day,” Hodgson said.
“Still to this day. It gives you this weird motivation that it was within touching distance, so I know exactly how they're feeling.
“I've never won a grand final. If I retired and didn't work as hard as I could to win one then I would have regrets.”