Hodgson ready for fairytale farewell

Super Rugby
by Sam Phillips

If Matt Hodgson was to sit down with the script writers planning his final game for the Force, this is how he would have planned it.

Home game in front of the Sea of Blue - tick.

Taking on the Waratahs - tick.

A win - TBC.

Hodgson has been the heart and soul of the Force since heading west for their inaugural year and on Saturday, he gets a chance to say farewell to the fans that have been there from day one.

"If you could have wrote a script - how I would want to say farewell - one would be at home and the second would be against the Waratahs," he said.Hodgson had the same hard nosed edge as a youngster. Photo: Getty Images"Just add a win to that and it would be a perfect for me.

"Running out there, knowing a lot of family and friends are going to be watching, it's going to be pretty exciting.

"It probably won't all hit me until the final whistle and the final hooter goes - that's when I will stop and enjoy the moment

"I'll go around and thank everyone that came to the game and that were part of my career as well."

Hodgson is adamant he will be 100 percent fit, having missed the Force's win against the Rebels on Friday night.

That means a fitting farewell in the the Force's No. 7 jersey, a strip he has cherished since making the move from Sydney, where injuries hindered his innate ability.Hodgson has led the Force through thick and thin. Photo: Getty ImagesThree reconstructions - an ankle, shoulder and knee - in three years had Hodgson fearing the worst but he jumped at the chance to head west and never looked back.

"There are a lot of people doing a lot of great things in WA," he said.

"I'm lucky that my voice is being heard a little bit and hopefully I'm doing the right things to make rugby strong in WA.

"All I ever do is try to get involved to make young kids want to play rugby in the future.

"If I can make one person achieve that dream, I think it's all worthwhile."Hodgson has been a fan favourite for many years. Photo: Getty ImagesAs the ARU's axe hovers over the head of Hodgson's beloved Force, he made one final, passionate plea to keep the team in Perth.

"If common sense prevails, the Western Force is an easy option to stay," he said.

"When you look at what we are doing at grassroots - the third highest population, the highest increase in numbers over the coming years - and I always give the example of Richard Hardwick.

"Someone that went from club rugby, to NRC, to Western Force and then playing for Australia - would he have got the same opportunity if the Western Force weren't around?"

The Force and Rebels came together in solidarity after Friday's clash, with Hodgson the leader in the middle of the huddle.Hodgson and the Force know what the Rebels are going through. Photo: Getty Images"Often in these situations we forget that there is another team going through the same situation," he said.

"We know what those players, staff and members of the Rebels are going through.

"The players are united - we haven't gone away from what we wanted from day one."

And the inspirational leader won't entertain any suggestion that the Force will fold ahead of his final match.

"To be honest, we haven't thought about it that way," he said.

"We have thought about it as my last game and obviously a last game for a few of the other players.

"It's a great opportunity to go out on a strong note, two wins in a row, hopefully in front of a packed house."