Hodgson looks forward to clash with Smith
RUGBY LEAGUE: Englishman Josh Hodgson is relishing his battle with Australian skipper Cameron Smith in Saturday night's preliminary final between Melbourne Storm and Canberra Raiders at AAMI Park.
The Raiders hooker, one of the favourites to win the Dally M Medal, made a remarkable recovery from an ankle injury to play in Saturday's 26-12 semi-final success over the Panthers.
Hodgson also had to overcome a stomach bug to play in the win and now can't wait to do battle with Smith, widely regarded as the best No.9 in the world game and another one who could win the Dally M.
It will be just the fourth time in his NRL career that Hodgson will come face to face with Smith.
"There's no point playing the game if you don't want to play against the best. What's the point if you want to be average?” Hodgson said.
"When you're a young fella coming through you watch clips of the best. Not just (Smith) but other players too, and what you can use out of their game and add to your own.”
The 26-year-old also confirmed his damaged ankle ligaments pulled up fine after the Panthers game.
"It felt good at the Captain's Run and that's when the decision was made. It was touch-and-go still on Wednesday,” he said.
"The swelling had gone down a fair bit and we didn't really get on top of that until Thursday. I had a good run around after that, and I could only judge it from that.
"If there had been a major doubt in my head I wouldn't have played. I just did what I felt was best for the team.”