HULL KR’S former Great Britain winger David Hodgson has retired due to a neck injury suffered in July – but will stay on at Craven Park as Chris Chester’s new assistant coach.
Hodgson, 33, has always been one of Super League’s quiet achievers during a career that has spanned 15 years, five different clubs and – with 184 in 366 appearances – reaped more than a try every other game.
“It’s a big change from what I’m used to but I’m really looking forward to it,” he said, having joined his former Wigan Warriors team-mate Chester’s new-look backroom team on a two-year deal.
“It’s a new start for the club and a lot of new lads are coming in, so it’s an exciting time to be joining the coaching staff.
“It’s always hard to retire but it was made easier for me by the number of injuries I’ve had this year. I damaged my neck towards the back end of the season and I felt my body was telling me to call it a day.
“To be offered an assistant coaching role was a bit of a surprise but I’m keen to get stuck in.
“It will be a relatively young coaching team but that seems to be the way a lot of clubs are going at the moment and hopefully we can bring some fresh ideas.
“I’ve been lucky enough to have had a good career and this is my chance to give something back now.
“The outside backs we have signed for next season look quality players and I can’t wait to work with them, to be honest. Hopefully they’ll fit straight in and we can have a good start to the season.”
If they can replicate any of Hodgson’s prowess, the East Yorkshire club will be well served.
Whether at Halifax, where he initially shone, or Wigan, where he won the 2002 Challenge Cup and played in two Super League Grand Finals after a £45,000 switch, the tall wideman has always been prolific.
His strike-rate was similarly impressive during a three-year stint with Salford City Reds before moving on to Huddersfield Giants in 2008 for his most productive spell.
A natural finisher, there Hodgson amassed 65 tries in just 93 games before returning to his hometown of Hull to join Rovers in 2012.
The highlight in red and white colours was arguably the last-minute touchdown to defeat fierce rivals Hull FC at the Magic Weekend two years ago.
However, having crossed 32 times in 53 games, he has now decided to call time on a career that also saw him represent Yorkshire, win four Great Britain caps and make the 2006 Super League Dream Team while at Salford.
Hodgson will work with Hull KR’s academy, too, and Chester – who replaced sacked Craig Sandercock in July – said: “It is really important for the club moving forwards that we hold onto players of Dave’s calibre and tap into their knowledge and experience.
“He has played at the highest level for a long period of time and has been a real professional both on and off the field.
“He will have a big part to play in what we want to do next year, particularly with the younger players.”
The Robins – who finished a disappointing ninth – have also handed head of strength and conditioning Paul Hatton and strength and conditioning coach Billy Mallinson two-year deals.
Assistant physio Roslyn Craig will stay on for at least another 12 months but rehabilitation manager Brice Johnson has left the club to return to Australia.
There is no role either for Rovers legend Stanley Gene, the assistant who has made way for Hodgson’s arrival.
Sheffield Eagles have signed Italian international Ben Musolino for 2015.
The 21-year-old Australian arrives from Barrow Raiders and can play centre or second-row.