Former Giant Hodgson hangs up his boots to take coaching job

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EX-HUDDERSFIELD Giants captain Brett Hodgson has confirmed his retirement from playing and will take up a coaching consultant role with Widnes Vikings.

The gifted Australian has become a star of Super League since joining the West Yorkshire club from Wests Tigers, leading Huddersfield to a Challenge Cup final appearance during his first season in 2009.

He was also named Man of Steel that year, but left at the end of the following season to join Warrington Wolves.

Former New South Wales State of Origin star Hodgson – who turns 36 next month – enjoyed further glory with Tony Smith’s side, winning the Lance Todd Trophy as man of the match in their 2012 Challenge Cup final win over Leeds Rhinos.

He ended up on the losing side, however, when Warrington lost a Grand Final versus Leeds a few weeks later and, after an injury-disrupted campaign, was omitted from Smith’s side when they lost at Old Trafford again versus Wigan in October.

Hodgson – who captained the Exiles against England last June – was released by Warrington with a year left on his contract at the end of last season in order to “pursue other options” and has now surfaced at their Cheshire neighbours.

He will work with the outside backs and halves across all levels at Widnes.

“I’m happily retired now and I’m grateful to Denis Betts and Widnes for offering me this opportunity,” said Hodgson, who was renowned especially for his bravery but also his footballing skills and accurate kicking ability.

“There’s a great bunch of guys here and the players are really enthusiastic and want to learn and improve.

“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.”

Hull KR’s Craven Park ground will be named the KC Lightstream Stadium after the club agreed a five-year naming rights partnership with the local communications provider.

Alex Walmsley has signed a new three-year extension at St Helens after the young prop made a huge impact in his first season there following his move from Batley Bulldogs.

Walmsley, 23, initially moved on a three-year contract but, unsurprisingly given his rate of progress, has now been tied down to the end of 2017.

Wakefield Trinity’s Andy Raleigh plays his testimonial against former club Huddersfield at Belle Vue tomorrow.

Bradford Bulls’ Danny Addy, Jamie Foster, Lee Gaskell, Adam Henry, Elliot Kear, Manase Manuokafoa and Adam Sidlow are all in action at Dewsbury, Castleford Tigers’ signing Liam Finn makes a swift return to his old club Featherstone Rovers and Hunslet Hawks host Leeds.