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7 November, 2020

Top level experience added to Pride squad

Northern Pride Coach Ty Williams announced this week the signing of ex-Mackay Cutters Captain Jayden Hodges.

By Peter McCullagh

Hodges, a Cairns Kangaroo product who played for the North Queensland Cowboys and Manly Sea Eagles in the NRL, before playing three seasons with the Mackay Cutters in the Intrust Super Cup.

Signed due to his exceptional leadership qualities, Hodges will provide competitiveness and exceptional adaptability to the game plan.

Williams admits the Pride 2021 squad will be young but feels confident the experience signed in recent weeks will provide a strong and stabilising framework for the 2021 team.

Late last month Williams re-signed four forward including Innisfail product Lata Fakalelu and  Brad Lupi. The Pride forward pack now boasts size pace and an exceptional football brain in Hodges.

The signing of Hodges adds additional options for the number 9 jumper. With up to 4 strong contenders, Denzel King, Chris Ostwald and rising talent Adam Hepworth, Hodges brings the ability play as a roaming lock.

“It’s going to be a bonus for us moving forward,” stated Williams. “The ability for him to be competitive and fight for every inch, he ticks all of the boxes for us.”

With pre-season commencing on Monday the Pride are in no hurry to fill the final two vacant spots in their roster.

“Won’t jump into it, COVID has shown us we need to patient with a lot of things.”

A couple of key areas that still need to be filled, Williams feels a bit more depth in the halves is needed and another big bopper up front, but a different ball playing front rower capable of playing deep minutes.

Williams is quietly confident and excited as the roster is starting to take shape as his roster and reflects the player structure capable of winning the competition.

“I’m assembling a squad that’s not going to make the five, but can win the competition,” he said.

This weekend also sees the Under 21 Trials for the Northern Pride. With 110 players registered for the trials and an initial squad of 35 – 40 to be selected, the coming season looks promising for the Pride.


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