The return of a favourite son

Welcome home: Brett Hodgson celebrates winning the 2005 NRL grand final. Picture: Craig Golding
Welcome home: Brett Hodgson celebrates winning the 2005 NRL grand final. Picture: Craig Golding

He’s one of Wests Tigers, Western Suburbs Magpies and Campbelltown’s favourite sons.

And after eight years spent as a player and a coach abroad, Brett Hodgson has returned to the area that saw him grow into a a premiership winning and State of Origin fullback.

The 39-year-old has taken up a role as a Wests Tigers assistant and the head coach of the Intrust Super Premiership Magpies side – which will act as a feeder team for the NRL side from 2018.

Hodgson said it was great to be back home again.

“I always wanted to come back to the club in some sort of coaching capacity,” he said.

“It (the club) has that home feeling for me – I was a Magpie that came through the system.

“Winning a title (in 2005), the club holds a special place for me.

“I really enjoyed my time in the UK ... but now I’ve got the chance to take a step in the direction I want to go in terms of coaching.”

A lot has changed since the Ingleburn RSL junior left bound for the Huddersfield Giants in 2009.

Team mates have come and gone and so have club bigwigs.

Even the area he called home has undergone a major transformation.

Hodgson himself has also made some changes.

“I wasn’t really a coffee drinker before I left but I’ve become one now,” he said.

After hanging up the boots in 2013 the former fullback turned his attention to coaching, and was appointed an assistant at Widnes Vikings.

As a player, Hodgson played well above his weight.

It was a feature that endeared him to many fans.

But when it comes to coaching, Hodgson said hadn’t pigeon holed himself.

He was said the role required him to be Jekyll and Hyde, the disciplinarian and the nice guy.

“You have to vary how you deal with players,” he said.

“It’s a hard one. Different individuals have different needs.”

While he has settled back into Campbelltown life, Hodgson said he is yet to step foot back on Campbelltown Sports Stadium – the ground that provided so many memories as a spectator and a player.

“I watched all the games there (as a youngster),” he said.

“I was always one of the first ones out there watching.

“But I haven’t been back on the field yet. I have driven past.”