Hodge wants to go the distance with Wallabies

The Rugby Championship
Beth Newman Profile
by Beth Newman

He’s got the distance and now the latest Wallabies debutant Reece Hodge wants to add accuracy to his super boot status.

Hodge slotted a penalty goal from 55m out for Australia in Saturday’s 29-9 loss to the All Blacks and made the distance on another shot from just short of halfway, but the kick drifted to the right.

The Melbourne Rebels utility wasn’t getting caught up in any of the hype around his long-range efforts, speaking post-match.

“It's good to get a kick over but obviously we lost the game so I’m pretty disappointed in the scheme of things but I guess take the good with the bad.

Hodge attributes his kicking prowess to stints of soccer and AFL as a kid, an influence that has stayed with him through his football life.

"I’ve practised long range [kicking] in training, I guess that's one of the strings to my bow so I’ll keep working on that and the more I can get consistent from that range [the better],” he said.

“Obviously I got one but also missed one, which let them off the hook a bit, so I was pretty disappointed in that.

“Just [need to] keep working on the consistency.”

Kicking highlights aside, Hodge’s Wallabies debut was another punctuation mark in a spectacular Super Rugby season for the 22-year-old, who just a year ago was plugging away in the Shute Shield for Manly.

Reece Hodge was sold on debut. Photo: Getty Images“I guess the start of the year, going down to Melbourne, I was just trying to take any opportunity that I got and consolidate a spot in the team down there,” he said.

“Everything after that's been a bonus but I can't rest on that now, we've got a long Test season ahead and if I get another opportunity then I'll make the most of it.”

While he admitted it was a fiery baptism, and one that came far earlier than he expected when starting wing Adam Ashley-Cooper went off with a concussion.

Hodge said he relished every moment of what was one of the most brutal of introductions.

“I wouldn't want to debut anywhere else or against anyone else really,” he said.

“It's a pretty baptism of fire but I loved every minute and if I get another opportunity I can't wait to pull the boots on again.”