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Hodge keen on jumper swap with Roughead

Lee Gaskin, AFL.com.au  January 29, 2018 9:21 AM

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Luke Hodge's friendship with Hawthorn skipper Jarryd Roughead led to the four-time Hawks premiership star choosing the No.2 jumper at the Brisbane Lions.

The pair will be swapping shirts when they face each other for the first time on opposite sides when the Lions host the Hawks in Round 9 at the Gabba.

Hodge wore the No.15 jumper with distinction in 305 games for the Hawks before changing his mind on retirement and extending his outstanding career.

The 33-year-old said he needed to look for an alternative with three-time Lions club champion Dayne Zorko having a mortgage on the No.15.

"I realised when I did get traded to Brisbane, that number 15 might be a bit of a stretch to get considering Zorko won the last three best and fairests," Hodge told SEN's Time On show.

"I looked through the numbers and obviously No.2 stood out.

"I've done a fair bit of work with 'Rough' over the last few years with his captaincy and got quite close with him, so I thought it was a pretty clear decision what I wanted.

"I gave him the heads up that we're both wearing No.2.

"He's keen for a jumper swap at some stage throughout the season when we play against each other, so that should be good."

Hodge has worked hard over the past three months since joining the Lions as he takes on a mentoring role with the young side.

"My job when I got up here was to knuckle down and to see where Brisbane was at," he said. 

"Understand the strengths and weaknesses of my new teammates, where I could try and help them and get a bit of knowledge of what I've learnt in my career and pass it on to them, so I can try and fast-track them.

"It's been about three months now and I'm loving it."

Hodge has missed only one skill session during the pre-season and paid tribute to the Lions' strength and conditioning staff for tailoring a program to his needs.

"The fitness guys in Brisbane have been really good," Hodge said.

"They have a guide of how many kilometres they want me to get in the legs, speed or endurance per session and then they'll pull me out to make sure I'm fresh for the next session.

"I've done all but one skill session since I've been up here, which is more than what we expected."

Hodge said No.1 draft pick Cameron Rayner looked good during a Lions scratch match on Wednesday night.

"Cam did his thing, but the best part about what he does, is he puts so much forward pressure on," Hodge said.

"There's always going to be a bit of pressure on the No.1 draft pick coming in, but he's been excellent with what he's done, as have all the other recruits we've got."                                   

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