Brisbane co-captain Justin Hodges admits he won’t know how strong his injured Achilles tendon is until he returns to the NRL on Friday night.
The 31-year-old international player was a shock selection for the Broncos on Tuesday for the upcoming clash with Parramatta at Suncorp Stadium.
It will be Hodges’ first game since rupturing his Achilles against St George Illawarra in August.
Hodges is confident he’s fully recovered from the injury despite the earlier than expected return.
But after spending the entire 2010 season on the sidelines with a similar injury, he knows it’s not until he comes through that first hit-up unscathed that he can put his latest hardship behind him.
“If something was going to happen it would have went by now,” he said.
“It can’t get any stronger than it is.
“It’s just a matter of going out and getting the confidence to step, get tackled and twisted. All those things you do in footy.”
Hodges will slot straight into the starting 13 against the Eels with Dale Copley moving out to the wing.
Lachlan Maranta is the player to make way, dropping back to an extended six-man bench.
Hodges’ return is also a boost for Queensland ahead of next month’s State of Origin series opener in Brisbane.
Not that the man himself is worried about pulling on a Maroon jersey just yet.
“My first preference was getting back here first and playing some great footy for the club,” he said.
“If I play some great footy that’ll just come as it has the past couple of years.”
Broncos: Ben Barba, Daniel Vidot, Jack Reed, Justin Hodges, Dale Copley, Josh Hoffman, Ben Hunt, Josh McGuire, Andrew McCullough, Corey Parker, Alex Glenn, Sam Thaiday, Matt Gillett. Interchange (two to be omitted): Martin Kennedy, Todd Lawrie, Ben Hannant, Lachlan Maranta, Jarrod Wallace, Corey Oates.