Hodges reveals bold ambitions
Knock out Darcy Lussick. Defeat Paul Gallen. Then become the first indigenous coach to win an NRL premiership.
Justin Hodges has outlined his bold sporting ambitions as he prepares to face Lussick in a heavyweight showdown on Friday night.
The league legend, who is assistant coach of the Queensland Maroons, plans to have just one more fight after Lussick and then focus on gaining a full-time coaching job with one of the NRL's 16 clubs from 2021.
"My main goal is to become the first indigenous coach to win a competition in rugby league," Hodges told The Daily Telegraph.
"That's where my passion and energy lies. Boxing was something to scratch that itch, I'll get through this and then focus on coaching.
"Something I've always done is set little goals. I wanted to come in here and have a few fights, win or lose it doesn't matter - of course I want to win, that's the competitor in me - but you don't know in this game, one hit and everything changes."
Hodges has fought twice before for easy victories against overmatched opponents, but the powerful Lussick presents his toughest challenge yet.
Should he win, a Hodges vs Gallen State of Origin themed grudge fight would be an easy sell next year.
"If we get through this, I'll only have one more and if it's against Gal it's meant to be," Hodges said.
"I've had a long career in rugby league, I can't road run, my shoulders are sore, some days you rock up to the gym and can't do certain things because your hands or shoulders are sore.
"You don't want to come here and get punch drunk either.
"For me it was a challenge to get in the ring, instead of sitting there thinking 'I wish I did this' or 'I could have done that'. I actually jumped in and did it.
"That's something I tell the indigenous kids I work with, 'Don't sit there worrying about what people will say, get off your bum and do it and try to achieve something'. I can't tell kids that and not do it myself."
But Lussick is extremely confident of flooring Hodges in his professional debut, saying he's in the best shape of his sporting career after an exhaustive training camp.
"I had a look around the arena before, there's 12,000 seats there, it's pretty daunting," Lussick said at the ICC First State Super Theatre.
"I am so lucky and privileged to be in this position, and I'm going to take full advantage of it.
"I'm just confident in my ability, I can't see him hurting me. "We're wearing 10 ounce gloves, there's not much padding there. If I can land a good clean shot with a 10 ounce glove, it should be night done."
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