For the first time since announcing his retirement from rugby league, Josh Hodgson has spoken about the neck injury that has ended his playing career.

The England international would also talk about playing in the 2019 Grand Final with the Canberra Raiders and playing under the tutelage of Wayne Bennett for the England national team, per the 5 Live Rugby League podcast.

After 310 games in both the Super League and NRL, Hodgson decided to hang up his boots recently despite being contracted for next season after a serious neck injury halted his career and failed to let him continue.

Referred to in the same breathe as Cameron Smith in his prime, a plethora of injuries, including an ACL injury and neck injury saw his playing career come to an abrupt end

"Anyone who retires knows it's difficult but especially when you don't go out on your own terms," Hodgson told the 5 Live Rugby League podcast.

"Since 2019 it's been a really difficult few years, I've got fond memories of that year, but that was the last year since 2017 that I've had a season where I've not either had or come back from a serious injury.

"In that period I've done two ACLs [knee ligament injuries], now my neck along with other little niggly injuries you get as a rugby player. It definitely tests how much you love the game, and how much you're willing to put your body through and how resilient you are.

"The reason I can retire happy is because I know I've squeezed every last inch of energy and juice I can out of my body."

The 33-year-old stated that due to his role as a dummy-half and the role of constantly making tackles and defending, it wasn't one particular match that caused the incident, but it happened over time. And the injury would actually stem from a peculiar training incident.

"I felt a 'zap' in my neck," Hodgson said. "Over the next day or two it got worse. Something in my neck didn't feel right.

"I had two bulging discs in my neck pressing on my spinal cord and a nerve causing all the pain, because I was kind of doubled over in agony.

"I had to go in and shave a couple of holes in my vertebrae to free up the nerve and make some room in there.

"Thankfully it seems to have worked in terms of the pain relief. The power in my arm is still not back, it's nowhere near even 50% to what it was. All the nerves have been reacted there and that's pretty scary when you realise you've got another 60 years or so to live after playing. Hopefully, the power comes back to my arm.

"Because I'm benching one arm with a 40kg and one arm with a 15kg at the moment, it's not great."

MELBOURNE, AUSTRALIA - SEPTEMBER 14: Josh Hodgson of the Raiders reacts as his team wins back the ball during the NRL Qualifying Final match between the Melbourne Storm and the Canberra Raiders at AAMI Park on September 14, 2019 in Melbourne, Australia. (Photo by Darrian Traynor/Getty Images)

Whilst Josh Hodgson was able to achieve many things on the field, one thing that he failed to win was an NRL Premiership, an honour that alluded him. After playing his early career in the Super League with Hull FC and Hull Kingston Rovers, the hooker would find himself joining the Canberra Raiders.

In what was known as an 'English Invasion', Hodgson was one of six players that made the move from England- Elliott Whitehead, John Bateman, Ryan Sutton, George Williams and Jordan Turner would all make the move too.

The new recruits, including Hodgson, saw the club reach the 2019 Grand Final for the first time since 1994, but they were beaten by the Sydney Roosters 14-8 in one of the most controversial finals of all time. Raiders fans will remember this Grand Final, as the game that was robbed from their grasps by the referees due to a number of interesting calls.

"I learned a lot from that game," Hodgson recalled.

"Looking back, minor details, when you get to the very top and playing the top teams every week, the Roosters were just very structured and regimented.

"We were an off-the-cuff team, who had players who could create things out of nothing and that was our biggest strength, but unfortunately on that day we didn't create the things that we'd done in previous weeks.

"The occasion itself is just huge, there are 80,000 in there and it's rocking. You can hear them all when you're warming up inside.

"We could hear the 'Viking clap' of the Raiders fans as we were walking down, but the tunnel is really long so by the time we got out the fans had nearly finished the clap, though we could hear it roaring around the stadium.

"It's a really special thing and obviously to be an English lad captaining an Australian team along with Jarrod Croker out on a Grand Final it's a very special moment.

"I've got a lot of love for Jarrod and all of those lads, there's a lot of lads who I'll speak to for another 30, 40 or 50 years.

"To be representing those boys when I ran out onto the field was a really proud moment."

MELBOURNE, AUSTRALIA - NOVEMBER 19: England Coach Wayne Bennett looks on during the 2017 Rugby League World Cup Quarter Final match between England and Papua New Guinea Kumuls at AAMI Park on November 19, 2017 in Melbourne, Australia. (Photo by Scott Barbour/Getty Images)

Furthermore, the former Canberra Raiders and Parramatta Eels player discussed what it was like to play under coaching maestro Wayne Bennett for England.

Josh Hodgson would make 19 Tests for England over the course of his career and also managed to represent Great Britain on four occasions in 2019. Although he had an accomplished international career he would be absent for the nation's biggest game- the 2017 World Cup Final against Australia.

"The biggest things I took out of working with Wayne were the little things in a game and the fact it's all about mate-ship," Hodgson said.

"Making sure you're as tight as you can be, look after each other in all aspects of life, not just in rugby league.

"He creates this togetherness; every team that Wayne coaches you know it's a Wayne Bennett team because of how close they are, you can see why when you work with him.

"The way he runs things during the day, training and after training, he cares about you as a person not just a rugby league player.

"I think one of his biggest strengths more than anything is that he's honest. He does it with the right intent, whether it's a good thing or a bad thing.

"You can see why he's been in the game so long and growing up as a kid hearing about him it was surreal to play under someone like Wayne."