AFL great Luke Hodge coy on possible return

Jason McCarthyGeraldton Guardian
AFL champion Luke Hodge.
Camera IconAFL champion Luke Hodge. Credit: AFL Photos

AFL great Luke Hodge was in Geraldton on Wednesday — for meet and greets with the footy supporters, especially those with brown in one eye and gold in the other.

Lunch and dinner sessions were held at the Freemasons Hotel, where the public could hear from and see one of the most decorated players of the game.

Known as The General, Hodge took the crowd on a brief journey through his career, from a Richmond supporter drafted at No.1 in 2001 when just 17 after being sacked three times as a paperboy, through to today’s coaching role at the Brisbane Lions.

Fielding questions from MC, West Coast Eagles great Glen Jakovich, Hodge discussed how he was part of a cultural change at Hawthorn, mainly attributed to coach Alistair Clarkson.

Hodge said Clarkson worked one on one with all the players, the reward being five grand finals and four premierships, including three in a row.

The two-time Norm Smith medallist discussed how after winning the 2008 grand final, the team got complacent and how they paid for it.

Luke Hodge addresses a leaders’ forum in Geraldton.
Camera IconLuke Hodge addresses a leaders’ forum in Geraldton. Credit: Jason McCarthy, The Geraldton Guardian

It took them years to get there again in 2012, only to fall short and then quickly learn from their mistakes to “be reliable, not remarkable”.

Hawthorn then went on to win the next three premierships.

Hodge said his favourite player was Chris Judd and he touched on how people did not see half of the talent Cyril Rioli had, claiming that at training sessions, he and teammates would be in awe of the small forward and his ability to do what no other player could.

He also spoke about how Brownlow medallist Sam Mitchell, who was overlooked in the AFL draft multiple times, would mimic Shane Crawford to be the best he could be.

Another great insight was to hear how teammate Jarrod Roughhead captained and played the entire 2018 season with no feeling in his feet due to side effects from cancer treatment.

After retiring in 2017, Hodge returned for another two seasons with Brisbane before calling it quits again.

When probed if he was done this time, he paused and remained coy.

Watch this space.

* Jason McCarthy is Seven West Media’s Mid West manager.

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