Josh Hodgson will likely play his last game for the Canberra Raiders this year. While Tom Starling is the heir apparent at hooker, the uncertainty surrounding his situation has caused a bit more scrutiny on what follows down the depth chart. But if you listen to Hodgson himself, the Raiders are in good hands.
If there’s one thing we’ve learned over the last few years is that nothing is set in stone. Josh Hodgson seemed like he would retire a Raider until it all fell apart. Then he was linked to the Broncos, the Knights and most notably the Tigers, only to be held up by an inability for both sides of the deal to agree on freight. He’s ended up with Parramatta, which when Hodgson first hit the market didn’t need a hooker. Times move fast. Similarly Starling has been the next in line for the best part of 18 months, and the Milk were nearing a deal to extend his time in Canberra. Then his second police incident occurred, that negotiation stalled (it seems) and well, now we are playing
hungry hungry hippos the waiting game. I think the Starling deal gets done as soon as his legal situation resolves, but the lesson we’ve been taught repeatedly recently is don’t count your chickens until you’re eating some dirty bird.
The Raiders have had to accept that the signing (or success) of Starling is not necessarily a certainty, and prepare their depth chart to make sure they are developing talent in the off-chance they need it. They’ve started that process by bringing Stanley Iongi to the club, a long term option. He’s an exciting player who adds to a precocious talent the Raiders already have on their roster, Adrian Trevilyan.
As you would have learned from JB in the Green Machine Podcast’s excellent profile Trevilyan is a very exciting young prospect. He’s done well at all levels, and despite limited opportunities in reserve grade because of the heinous coward ‘Rona, he’s shown that he’s got the footy brain to make it, amassing five try assists despite only starting two games at rake. His defence has been solid (93% efficiency) which is pleasing given it’s such a huge part of the modern hooker’s role. He’s an old head on young shoulders, and if you listen to the right people, he might be ready for first grade sooner than you think.
Trevilyan has always been subject to a degree of hype since he won the Peter Sterling Medal, and the late great Peter Mulholland managed to steal him from north of the border to bring him to Canberra alongside Brad Schneider. Andrew Voss, the man that has seemingly called every youth football game I’ve ever watched reckons he’s the best high school footy player he’s ever seen (and as JB points out in his profile (read it again here) the list of players Voss has seen is as extensive as it is impressive). In the past former Raiders assistant Michael Ennis has also praised the young rake effusively, suggesting “he’s got a wonderful passing game, he’s got good speed out of dummy half.”
Now adding his name to the list of people with praise for Trevilyan is the man whose position he may one day fill. Hodgson recently told Fatimah Kdouh of the Daily Telegraph that there’s plenty to like about Trevilyan.
I’ve had a fair bit to do with him. He’s been with us for a couple of years. He’s a quiet kid but he is certainly skilful and has a bit of ability about himHodgson to Kdouh
Hodgson notes that he’s even suited to performing another role.
He’s got that kind of build, where he’s in between and he’s kind of similar to myself, he’s a bigger nine and when he fills out he can play a bit of lock too.Hodgson to Kdouh
This is an interesting additional “string to his bow” as Hodgson puts it, because it would allow him to play alongside both Starling and Iongi in the future. Depending on the resilience of V’Landysball (and the way that man makes decision, it could exist for 10 years, or it could end tomorrow depending on what Gus tells him) having a player with the ball-playing smarts of Trevilyan as a change of pace lock could be critical for Canberra’s success, depending on a range of other factors.
It would also ensure that even if he’s not playing 80 at hooker in reserve grade that he’s getting the necessary minutes to prepare his body for the rigors of the top grade. Hodgson rightly notes that Trevilyan has time to develop his body, and after the last two years it’s hard not to think he could use some regular footy in reserve grade before anyone gets carried away. And that’s manageable. Trevilyan will likely not get called in to the top grade this year, giving him time to acclimatise, both physically and in a more cerebral sense.
It’s a good sign that so many people associated with rugby league and the Raiders rate Adrian so highly. When one of the best Milkmen to ever do the job he’s aiming for says he’s got the goods, we should take notice. Josh Hodgson isn’t going to be here forever, and the world isn’t guaranteed to Tom Starling just yet. The only way to be sure of success is to make sure you have talented players in the pipeline. Josh Hodgson is just the latest to say the Raiders have that in Adrian Trevilyan.
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