POOR performances that have not matched the form of the Canberra Raiders over recent seasons has compelled Josh Hodgson to step down from the captaincy.
The role was shared with co-skipper Jarrod Croker since 2019, which also included Hodgson appearing in that year’s NRL grand final before Canberra reached the semi-finals last year under the dual leadership model.
Hodgson informed the coaching staff and playing group of his decision a number of weeks ago, but has maintained his silence during the Raiders’ losing streak that stretched to four games on Thursday night (April 29).
“I can assure everyone that I remain fully committed to the club and I’m looking forward to getting myself back to 100 per cent fitness, and helping the team get their season back on track,” Hodgson said.
“I know internally we’re all working extremely hard to turn things around, and the playing group and staff have been fully committed to each other and the club.”
Hodgson has been sidelined over the past fortnight while nursing a calf injury.
The hooker also took little part in the squad’s 2020 season after suffering an ACL knee tear.
“I’ve been out injured for the past two games and I’ve been working hard on getting myself back on the training field,” he said.
“I’m confident I’ll be ready to play again when we play the Bulldogs next weekend.”
Another Englishman, Elliott Whitehead, has been appointed captain alongside Croker ahead of a sold-out home clash in Wagga Wagga against Newcastle on Saturday.
Canberra issued a statement on Wednesday, accepting Hodgson’s resignation all the while believing it is a positive step towards the NRL outfit regaining form to a 3-5 win/loss year.
“The club understands that the current on-field results have not been up to the standards and expectations that have been set internally, and we’re doing everything we can to make sure that the team performs at the standard they have set over the past few seasons,” the club statement said.
The club is also managing a situation with another Brit over catching up with his family.
Five-eighth George Williams and pregnant partner Charlotte Lewis fear they will be unable to return home until the end of the 2022 season when his Raiders contract expires.
Should the Rugby League World Cup scheduled in England later this year not go ahead over the spread of COVID-19 in the host nation, Williams may have to wait a further 12 months while Australia maintains stringent border controls that could also lock out his family.
“With the global pandemic making it difficult for them to remain connected to family and friends, it’s important that the club focuses on their wellbeing,” the club said, “and over the past several weeks they’ve been working with them to identify ways to remain connected.”