Retired Broncos star Justin Hodges has been unveiled as the new coach of the Queensland Under 20s for this year’s annual interstate match against New South Wales.
The former Maroon, who played 24 Origin matches, says it is a massive honour and marks the “next step” in his coaching journey.
Since retiring at the end of the 2015 season, Hodges has been actively involved in Queensland’s development programs.
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He mentored Queensland’s U16 team in 2016 and addressed the state’s Under 20 hopefuls as part of the QAS Emerging program earlier this year.
Hodges said “mateship” would be the key ingredient to breaking the young Blues’ stranglehold on the Under 20s age group.
“It’s important that the boys come into camp and we create a bond and friendship that you see with the (senior) Queensland side,” he said.
“We’ve created a family where mates become mates for the rest of their lives. I want to make sure the boys really love each other, respect each other and play for each other.”
Queensland will play NSW at Suncorp Stadium on May 31 as the main curtain-raiser to the opening match of the State of Origin series.
Former Maroons halfback Scott Prince will join the Under 20s camp as an assistant coach, while the experienced Paul Dyer will assume the manager’s role.
— Queensland Maroons (@QLDmaroons) April 11, 2017