NRL 2 years ago

Hodkinson urges Knights to look at Toovey

  • Hodkinson urges Knights to look at Toovey

Incoming Newcastle halfback Trent Hodkinson has urged the club to look at installing sacked Manly coach Geoff Toovey for next season.

Toovey was an assistant coach at Brookvale when Hodkinson played for Manly in 2010, before taking over when head coach Des Hasler moved to Belmore in 2013.

But a day after the Knights gave Rick Stone the flick for a disappointing season, Toovey was also axed from his beloved club after management lost faith in his coaching ability.

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Hodkinson admitted Stone had played a key role in luring him to the club, but backed Toovey as a prime candidate to be his replacement.

"I thought he had done a solid job at the Eagles. He took them to the finals, so I was little bit shocked to be honest," he said of Toovey's sacking.

"I obviously haven't been under him as a head coach, but I'm sure Toovs would slot in nicely if they made that decision."

Hodkinson will move to the Knights at the end of the season after announcing a three-year deal with the club early last month, and is expected to partner Jarrod Mullen in the halves.

The incumbent NSW halfback revealed he had sought Mullen's advice prior to signing on the dotted line and, despite Newcastle's disappointing season, was given a glowing recommendation of the club's promising young talent.

"I spoke to him before I made the decision and picked his brain about things and it was good," Hodkinson said.

"They've got some great young talent, some outside backs that are coming through. That's part of the reason why I signed on."

For now though, Hodkinson will aim to steer the Bulldogs to a fourth straight finals appearance in what has been another big year for the playmaker.

Despite an indifferent start to the season, Hodkinson held his spot in a Blues side that eventually folded in the State of Origin decider in Brisbane.

But the 26-year-old said he felt he was in better form than this time last year, when he fell away after helping NSW reclaim the Origin shield.

"Last year I played myself into an Origin jersey and I was in some good form. I felt as though I slowed down after the Origin period and then picked it up when finals came," he said.

"But this year, I started slow and was able to still retain that jersey.

"I got a lot of confidence out of that and brought some decent form back to the Bulldogs over the last few weeks."

The eighth-placed Bulldogs meet ladder leaders Brisbane on Friday night.

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