Josh Hodgson is ready for one of his best years at the Canberra Raiders in 2022 | Canberra Times

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Josh Hodgson still has plenty to offer the rugby league, potentially for another three years after the expiry of his Canberra Raiders contract at the end of 2022. But out of season, the 32-year-old Englishman is no longer fond of capital far and wide. Yes, he got permission from the Raiders earlier this year to seek a fresh start after 2022 and potentially even negotiate an early release from his lengthy stay at ACT, which will hit its eighth year next season. Yes, Hodsgon and his management explored their options, most recently with the challenged Wests Tigers, who shaped themselves as a potential suitor for the international whore, until it turned out that the joint venture club was not willing to pay his entire 2022 salary . Not surprisingly, the Raiders were not willing to have one of their high-profile stars play elsewhere next season. That’s why Hodgson showed up at Raiders headquarters for the first day of preseason last Friday, not at the Tigers at Concord. Spectators observed two things as Hodgson took the field for a 1200-meter series last week. He looked very fit. And he looked very happy. This bodes well for Raiders fans, and the club’s prospects for next season – more than likely Hodgson’s last on the Green Machine. With the prospect of just another big money contract to see him through the twilight years of his magnificent rugby league career, Hodgson will have to move elsewhere towards 2022. Player and club are on the same page in that regard. MORE CANBERRA SPORT Which makes 2022 a turning point in Hodgson’s career. Aside from an unexpected 11th hour by another NRL club willing to match the final year of his Raiders contract, Hodgson will be wearing green next season. This drop of the cards should benefit both the player and the club. The Raiders need Hodgson as part of their roster. Tom Starling is the only other recognized dummy half on Ricky Stuart’s NRL team, and he faces a tumultuous 2022 off the field with two upcoming lawsuits stemming from separate intoxicating incidents over 12 months on the Central Coast. Canberra remain eager to put their long-term belief in Starling as their future number nine, but the 23-year-old’s recent arrest and Hodgson’s out-of-season contract saga have temporarily halted negotiations. Starling robbed Hodgson of Stuart’s favorite whore in 2021, with the latter increasingly used off the bench as a ball-playing lock through the second half of the season. As it happened, the position change dragged Hodgson out of the form decline he fell into after relinquishing co-captain duties and injuring his calf. He wants to fish as much playing time as possible next season so he can put himself in the showcase of potential employers. The Redcliffe Dolphins join the NRL in 2023, and Hodgson would certainly be an enticing prospect for Wayne Bennett and his coaching staff as a general around the riots that could lead an upcoming new team. Premiers Penrith may also be in the market for a whore in 2023, with premiere winner Api Koroisau rumored to be leaving the club when his contract expires in 2022. Until then, it will be up to Hodgson to go back to the future and show he still has plenty to offer the sport in the last years of his career. That can only be good news for Raiders fans.



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