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Maroons assistant Hodges sets coaching goal high

Justin Hodges says his elevation to Maroons assistant coach in 2019 is another step towards his goal of coaching the Brisbane Broncos as he targets giving Queensland added defensive steel.

Hodges, who coached the Queensland under 20s to victory against NSW this year, has been appointed as Kevin Walters' assistant for the 2019 State of Origin series in place of Josh Hannay.

Hodges, who played 24 Origin games for Queensland, spoke about his coaching aims in the Brisbane CBD on Wednesday after selling copies of the 'The Big Issue' alongside the street magazine's homeless and disadvantaged vendors to give them a festive season boost.

Maroons defensive coach Trevor Gillmeister was also axed after the 2-1 series loss to NSW in 2018 so Hodges said his big issue would be to give Queensland a defensive edge.

"I will probably look more at the defensive stuff. Kevvie likes attack. Defence is something I enjoy," Hodges said.

"It's about pride, aggression and attitude. You don't want to let your mate down. That's what Origin is all about.

"I prided myself on my defence. Hopefully I can instil that aggression into them, but also controlled stuff, to make sure they compete on every play."

Match Highlights: Maroons v Blues

Hodges' eventual ambition is to get into an NRL system and go right to the top.

"I think every player's ambition is to coach the side that they love and one day hopefully I will coach the Broncos," he said.

"I am still learning the ropes. This Maroons assistant job will really help me learn."

The Maroons hierarchy rung the changes after losing to the Blues in 2018 with long-serving trainer Tony Spencer also axed. Walters has brought in Petero Civoniceva as a team manager and Maroons legends Johnathan Thurston and Billy Slater will also be hands-on in camp in their areas of expertise.

"Having guys like Petero, JT and Billy Slater still coming into camp I will learn so many good things," Hodges said.

"That's what makes a good coach. You have to keep learning, and learn from your mistakes. You can't think you know it all."

Hodges said new Brisbane coach Anthony Seibold, who has also done a stint as Maroons assistant, would thrive at the Broncos and was the man to take the club forward in the wake of Wayne Bennett's sacking.

"I think he is a great coach. He is very intelligent and did a wonderful job at South Sydney last season and he turned those guys into a happy club again," Hodges said.

"A lot of their forwards over the last couple of years have looked fatigued but he brought them back to where they wanted to be. With a younger coach he brings fresh ideas and I think that is what the Broncos have been screaming out for.

"Wayne has done a fantastic job for a long period of time and done some marvellous things but I think the players just need that different voice at this time in their career."

Acknowledgement of Country

Queensland Rugby League respects and honours the Traditional Custodians of the land and pay our respects to their Elders past, present and future. We acknowledge the stories, traditions and living cultures of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples on the lands we meet, gather and play on.

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