From Longhill to Canberra, Hull-born Josh Hodgson is now one of the best rugby league players in the world.
And he is now set to become just the third player from the city to appear in Australia’s NRL Grand Final.
Currently plying his trade at the Canberra Raiders in Rugby League’s premier competition, Hodgson is rated among the game’s top players.
He has played for Canberra Raiders since 2014, making more than 100 appearances and narrowly missing out on the Dally M Medal, NRL’s most prestigious individual award, in 2016.
The Green Machine will face Sydney Roosters on Sunday 6 October, with the winners crowned NRL champions.
Though Raiders skipper Hodgson was a notable absentee from training on Tuesday, the club confirmed he has a virus and he is in no doubt for Sunday.
It will put him in line to join the elite list of eight English players who have played on an NRL Grand Final winning side.
He will join a short list of Hull-born players to appear in NRL Grand Finals alongside former Hull FC, Leeds Rhinos and Newcastle Knights player Lee Jackson and former Hull KR and Manly Warringah Sea Eagles star Phil Lowe.
But how did a Hull-born youngster end up playing in the NRL in Australia’s capital?
Describing his early years in Longhill to the Athlete’s Voice in 2018, he said: “It was working class. Everyone who lived there was blue collar or on the dole. You’d get a bit of everything – scaffolders, bricklayers, taxi drivers. Great people. They worked hard for not a lot of money at the end of the day.”
Hodgson played junior rugby at East Hull ARLC, based at Rosemead Sports Centre, before being spotted by Hull FC and signing for their academy. During his time in the academy, Hodgson was an apprentice bricklayer, helping to clear houses damaged during the massive floods of 2007.
Due to limited appearances in Hull FC’s first team, he signed for Hull KR where he went on to become an important member of their first team, making 134 appearances and scoring 37 tries.
During this time, he also represented England Knights, an under-23s development team for players deemed to have the potential to play in Tests.
His performances for Hull KR brought the attention of numerous NRL clubs including Sydney Roosters. However, it was Australia’s capital, Canberra Raiders, who managed to secure his signature.
He will be hoping to carry on his fantastic form into the Great Britain Lions tour this autumn as the Lions take on New Zealand, Tonga and Papua New Guinea.