WIDNES Vikings stand off Kevin Brown is delighted to be teaming up with new coaching consultant Brett Hodgson again.
Brown played alongside the 35-year-old full back Hodgson at Huddersfield during the Giants’ run to Wembley in 2009.
And he knows know all the personal and professional qualities that the Australian former Warrington and Exiles number one will bring to the table at the Select Security Stadium.
Brown said: “It's great for us to have Brett Hodgson around. I was lucky enough to play with him when I was at Huddersfield.
“He's right up there with the best I've played with. “People often ask me what he was particularly good at, because if you look at his body, he doesn't look too big, quick or indeed strong, but he was the smartest player I've come across by a mile. “If we can just tap in to five or ten percent of what he had then we’ll all be better players. I'm really excited about working with Brett again.”
Hodgson, who won six caps for New South Wales and represented Wests Magpies, Wests Tigers and Parramatta Eels in the NRL, will work with the outside backs and halves across all levels at the Vikings.
Brown added: "The young lads have given him a lot of respect already and what they've taken out of his sessions has been very beneficial.
“I don't know if he's set any goals, but as far as we know, he's coming in on a couple of days a week and he's just enjoying being back with a team and passing on his knowledge to us.”
The move is the first real step on the ladder from playing to coaching – and he has already done much of the groundwork in his spare time as a player.
Hodgson said: “I’m happily retired now and I’m grateful to Denis Betts and Widnes for offering me this opportunity.
“There’s a great bunch of guys here and the players are really enthusiastic and want to learn and improve.
“Widnes is a very good club to be at. The culture of the club is very professional and it’s a good working environment with excellent facilities.
“I got my coaching badges quite a while ago in Australia and every off-season I have gone back home to work with some pretty good coaches in a bid to improve me as a coach for when that time comes, which is obviously now.
“Coaching is something I’ve wanted to do for a long time and I’m looking forward to working with Denis, the players and staff at the Vikings as it’s a exciting time to be involved.”
Head coach Denis Betts feels that the crafty Australian will add another dimension to his backroom team and will improve the players he works with.
“Brett has got 350 first grade games under his belt both over here and in the NRL. He’s been there and done it at the very top and to have someone of his calibre here is a real coup for the club.
“He was a quality player and is a great person to have around our environment where he can pass that experience and knowledge on to our younger players.
“Whether he’s delivering kicking sessions with the Academy players or some of the First Team, he can offer them so much. He’s a very, very good coach and we’re delighted to have him on board,” he said.
Vikings head to the south of France this weekend to tackle Catalan Dragons on Saturday in their final pre-season friendly of the year.