Justin Hodges
Justin Hodges Warren Lynam

Cracked rib won't stop Justin Hodges in Bulldogs clash

A CRACKED rib will not prevent Maroons centre Justin Hodges from going head-to-head against his likely New South Wales Origin opponent Josh Morris when the Broncos and Bulldogs clash at ANZ Stadium tonight.

Hodges pulled out of last week's 32-6 win over the Titans, scans revealing a small fracture in his lower rib.

The Australian representative sat out of contact work during training at Red Hill yesterday, but Broncos coach Anthony Griffin was confident his star centre would hold his own against one of the likely Blues centres.

"Yes, Hodgo will be sweet. He obviously still has an issue with that rib, but he will definitely be playing," Griffin said.

Griffin said he was wary of the threat Canterbury's Ben Barba would pose at fullback, pointing out the Dally M winner was gradually regaining his form after recovering from some off-field mental demons.

"I thought Barba was probably the difference against the Warriors in their comeback (in round nine)," he said. Griffin also threw his support behind Jordan Kahu, who will fill in for Jack Reed (fractured eye socket) at left centre.

Sydney reports have linked Kahu with Cronulla, but the Broncos have begun negotiations to keep the promising 22-year-old.


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