Josh Hodgson is a player in the mould of Cameron Smith, according to Michael Ennis.
Josh Hodgson is a player in the mould of Cameron Smith, according to Michael Ennis.

‘Next cab off the rank’: Ennis anoints Smith’s heir apparent

Canberra's Josh Hodgson has the potential to become the NRL's best traditional-style dummy-half, according to former NSW rake Michael Ennis.

The retired 274-game veteran has been working with Hodgson ahead of the Raiders' opening-round clash with the Gold Coast on Saturday.

Expected to be back to his best this season after a knee injury at the 2017 World Cup cruelled his last campaign, the 29-year-old will offer stability to Canberra's spine in 2019.

Now in his prime, Ennis predicts the Englishman can in fact become the best stand-and-deliver No.9 in the business.

"Josh, along with Cameron (Smith), is probably among the best traditional dummy- halves in the game," Ennis said.

"Damien (Cook) - he's a different style of hooker. He's explosive and is a real attacking weapon.

"But your Hodgsons and your Smiths pull and probe oppositions apart and they're always out of dummy-half scheming for opportunities, they've got good kicking games.

"And defensively they are really solid through the middle too, which Damien is as well. But they're different players.

"Cameron is 36 now, Josh is certainly the next cab off the rank of being that really quality traditional dummy-half."

Ennis predicted Hodgson's biggest challenge is likely to be understanding the changing nature of the Raiders' attack.

Josh Hodgson has been working with Michael Ennis at the Raiders.
Josh Hodgson has been working with Michael Ennis at the Raiders.

Last year's front rowers Shannon Boyd and Junior Paulo are gone, while Jack Wighton has moved from fullback to partner Aidan Sezer at five-eighth.

"For the Raiders to have a successful season Josh needs to play well but Aidan and Jack need to have a big imprint as well," Ennis said.

"Getting the balance right between when it's his time to attack and when its their time to attack is key."

Hodgson also said Ennis joining Canberra's staff had helped more than just him.

"Having that outside influence of someone who used to play against us so recently ... He touches on when he used to play us he'd attack this point or that point or an opposition's mentality," Hodgson said.

"And from a personal point of view a dummy-half to bounce ideas off is always going to be a bonus."

News Corp Australia


Bundy renter's battle for bond heading to court

premium_icon Bundy renter's battle for bond heading to court

Tenant fighting real estate as tensions mount

HOT PROPERTY: Rental vacancies halve in Bundy

premium_icon HOT PROPERTY: Rental vacancies halve in Bundy

Renting game heats up with lack of vacancies.