Justin Hodges has told Paul Gallen to “suck it up” and embrace the uncertainty “he signed on for” amid the Cronulla Sharks legend’s threat to pull out of the fight.
Gallen (12-2, 7KO) will face both Hodges (5-1, 2KO) and Ben Hannant (0-1) on the same evening on September 15 in Brisbane, but the format of the fight night remains a mystery.
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With less than a week to go, it is expected the plan for Gallen’s night will be revealed in the coming days as he learns if he will fight Hodges and Hannant back-to-back or if he will fight one, have a lengthy breather and then face the other man.
Gallen’s threat to walk away from the bout caught Hodges by surprise and immediately the Maroons legend felt his opponent was lining up his excuses because he “knows he’s going to get beaten.”
“I was pretty disappointed, to be honest,” Hodges told foxsports.com.au.
“At the end of the day, he signed a contract, he knew what was at stake in terms of fighting two people.
“Now he’s carrying on and whinging in terms of not knowing what’s going on. Just focus on your preparation and turning up to fight. I think that’s the only thing I’ve done, I haven’t worried about too much.
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“He’s just got to suck it up. To me, it sounds like he’s making up a couple of excuses because he knows he’s going to get beaten.
“He just needs to sit down with George if that’s what he needs to do so we can get it on.”
It’s worth noting that Hodges and Hannant are equally in the dark with Gallen in terms of how the fight night will play out.
But did Hodges ever think about withdrawing from the fight?
“No,” Hodges said.
“I knew what I signed up for. Obviously we’re all in the dark of who’s fighting when and what’s going to happen.
“Look, it’s a great opportunity for me and it’s something I’m really looking forward to. I’ve been training hard and haven’t really had much of a break as my previous two fights I’ve had have been off the back of each other. I’ve probably been one of the busiest fighters in Australia recently.”
With the event dubbed the ‘Origin Rumble’, it’s already armed Hodges and Hannant with plenty of related trash talk aimed at Gallen, with the latter even claiming the Blues great is actually more like a Queenslander given his backs-to-the-wall mentality. that typified his footy career.
Hodges admits the fact Gallen has a horrific record as Blues captain in Origin games in Queensland, and Origin series’ across the board, gives him and Hannant a major mental edge.
And the Broncos great believes the constant sledges might even be forcing Gallen to crack.
“To me, him carrying on in terms of wanting to pull out of the fight shows we’re getting under his skin a little bit,” Hodges said.