With Pearce’s prized signature slipping through their grasps, Manly are still looking for a half after Blake Green was released to the Warriors.
Developing playmakers Luke Metcalf, Lachlan Crocker and Tom Wright could all be an option but Manly are looking for an experienced first-grade halfback and Hodkinson fits the bill.
Hodkinson made his first-grade debut at Manly, meaning that he’s had past experience with his possible future halves partner Daly-Cherry Evans.
After joining the Bulldogs, Hodkinson steered his club into a grand final, and single-handily ended the NSW Blue’s eight-year drought.
Since then, Hodkinson has been languishing in Newcastle’s Intrust Super Cup, not even included in the Top 5 reserve grade halfbacks.
Manly is an ideal location for Hodkinson to resurrect his fading career.
Manly CEO Lyall Gorman was disappointed after he crucially missed out on Pearce.
“On behalf of our members, fans and corporate partners, we made a serious effort to secure Mitchell’s services, but there was always a limit to that offer in order to ensure our ability to continue to attract and retain the very best playing group over the years to come,” said Manly CEO Lyall Gorman.
“There are a number of very capable and exciting young players coming through our ranks and a major focus is to invest strongly in their development.
“We wish Mitchell every success in his future career.”
Sea Eagles coach Trent Barrett said the club would move forward.
“We put in a very strong offer for Mitchell. We were not going to get in a bidding war with any other club,” Barrett said.
“Mitchell was honest through the whole process and we wish him all the best.
“We move forward with a very, very competitive playing roster for 2018 and onwards. We look forward to the year ahead.”