Hodgson hangs the boots up

Super Rugby
by Sam Phillips

After 12 seasons spent serving as the heart and soul of the Force, Matt Hodgson has announced his retirement at the end of season 2017.

The inspirational Force skipper has been part of the furniture in Perth, having made his debut in the club's inaugural match against the Brumbies in 2006 and playing 139 games for the club since.

An 11-cap Wallaby, Hodgson is the kind of inspirational leader every club needs.

He leads with a insatiable thirst for physicality that inspires on field but off field, his careful choice of words are often just as powerful.

He doesn't speak much but when he does, his fellow players and loyal fans hang on every word.Hodgson leads on field, as well as off. Photo: Getty ImagesAfter leading the club through this tumultuous season, Hodgson said it was time to hand the keys over to the promising next generation.

"It is a privilege to be able to retire on my own terms while still playing the brand of rugby I’ve always strived to deliver," Hodgson said.

"I hold the opportunity to play for my country and the Western Force in the highest regard and I hope that I have always shown this through the way I have played.

"The last few years I have enjoyed being the captain and being part of the coaching team at the Force.

"It has made my decision to retire from playing easier, as I know that I have many ways to contribute to the team without the broken bones and stitches."Hodgson has been a fearless leader for the Force. Photo: Getty ImagesHodgson made a special mention to the Sea of Blue, thanking them for their support through his 12 year career and paying them the ultimate compliment.

"Thank you to every member of the Sea of Blue whose love and passion for rugby lifted me up in the hardest times and shared the joy of every high," he said.

"No fans in any sport are as loyal and passionate as our Sea of Blue.

"We have done it hard but we have always done it together.

"It is because of you that I stayed in WA and have proudly made it my home for the future.

“I’m proud that over the last 12 years WA has become a new generation stronghold of rugby in this country.Hodgson is a crowd favourite within the Sea of Blue. Photo: Getty Images"Our value and real contribution to the game is undeniable at a grassroots level through to the national level.

"I am excited to be continuing my investment in rugby in this state as I take up a role within the Force organisation moving forward.”

Force coach Dave Wessels was typically poignant in his comments about Hodgson's unwavering commitment to the club.

"In many ways Hodgo is the life and soul of our club, which you can see in the way he throws his body around on the field," Wessels said.

"He’s been an incredible support to me and the rest of the team over the last few months, which I will always be very grateful for.

"We’re delighted that he’s agreed to join us in a coaching capacity next season and will add a huge amount to our group.”