NSW halfback Trent Hodkinson has put the memories of his successful State of Origin debut behind him as he prepares for a potentially historic game two.
Trent Hodkinson insists memories of the greatest day in his career are behind him as he looks to become the first NSW halfback to win a State of Origin series since Andrew Johns in 2005.
The Canterbury playmaker was the shock selection for the No.7 jersey for game one, leapfrogging Mitchell Pearce and Adam Reynolds, and made an encouraging debut in the 12-8 win over Queensland at Suncorp Stadium.
In addition to playing his part in a stunning defensive effort in the final 15 minutes as the Maroons laid siege to the NSW tryline, Hodkinson also became the first Blues halfback to taste victory in Brisbane on debut since Steve Mortimer 32 years ago.
But the 25-year-old knows all that will count for nothing unless he can play a major role in orchestrating victory in game two at ANZ Stadium next Wednesday to seal an unassailable 2-0 series lead and end Queensland’s eight-year dominance.
“It was a great way to start, getting a win under my belt, but it’s going to be a lot tougher this time around,” Hodkinson told AAP.
“The way we defended back-to-back sets on our tryline and being under the pump for the last 10 minutes it was such a relief when the siren went.
“It was the best moment of my career, to run out there in front of a packed crowd at Suncorp Stadium.
“You hear about what Origin is like from former players, but nothing ever comes close to experiencing it first hand.
“But that is over now, hopefully I can look back on it just as fondly at the end of the series when we’ve won it.”
In a delicious twist of irony Daly Cherry-Evans, the man who replaced Hodkinson at Manly when he left to join the Bulldogs in 2011, will be his opposite number for Queensland.
Cherry-Evans has been promoted to the starting spot following the broken arm sustained by Cooper Cronk and his former teammate is more than wary of the threat he poses after starring in Manly’s win over the Bulldogs last Friday.
“Daly’s a classy player and always has been,” Hodkinson said.
“He was outstanding for Manly against us last Friday and is more than capable of doing that for Queensland next week.
“Since he came into first grade he’s hardly put a foot wrong and is one of the best halves in the game.”
“We’ll have to keep him quiet.”