Life without Lockyer

BRISBANE'S track record of coping with the loss of champion players over the years will stand the club in good stead for its first NRL season in 13 years without five-eighth great Darren Lockyer.

That's the opinion of Broncos centre Justin Hodges, who notes that Brisbane had regrouped many times in the past after the likes of Wally Lewis, Allan Langer, Gorden Tallis, Kevin Walters and Shane Webcke hung up their boots.

"There's always an adjustment period after you lose a great player," said Hodges.

"You can't replace a Darren Lockyer but we've got young blokes like Corey Norman and Ben Hunt who can come in and play the role.

"When Alfie (Langer) retired it took a little while but we've got Wal (Peter Wallace) here and now we're on the lookout for a five-eighth.

"Obviously Locky's are big boots to fill, one of the greatest players to have played, but we've got those young guys and also Luke Capewell.

"We're not asking them to be another Locky, we just need them to do their job for the team."

Hodges, who's re-signed with Brisbane until 2015, said pre-season training was the painful part of a new season.

"You know when you turn up on Mondays you're going to get a flogging," he said after a tough session in humid conditions at Queensland University.

"The boys are all counting down till Christmas when we get some time off."

He said he hadn't had any issues with his dodgy hamstrings and his back felt good on a new stretching program.

"I've turned up every day for training and in the heavy conditions like it was out there, the hammy gets under a bit of load," he said.

"So far so good."


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