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Luke Hodge reaches 333 career games

Luke Hodge Press Conference Luke Hodge talks to the media ahead of his 333rd game, equalling Club legend Kevin Murray's record.

WHEN Chris Fagan was trying to talk Luke Hodge out of retirement 18 months ago, he rattled off the names of some of Brisbane's younger talent.

Fagan had been coaching 12 months and had begun to resurrect the Lions' list and was hoping Hodge's older head would add to the mix.

But one name didn't quite strike a chord with the four-time premiership star.

"When I first spoke to Fages about coming up here he went through a few of the younger guys and he said "Hugh McCluggage".

"I'm like "who?" Hodge laughed.

"I knew of him, but he was one of those younger draft picks that got picked up from the country and being in Melbourne you didn't know a lot about him.

"I'll tell you what, I do now."

McCluggage had just completed his first season when Hodge moved to Brisbane at the end of 2017.

The number three draft pick had a solid first year, built on it last season and has taken his game to a new level in 2019, averaging 22 disposals and kicking 11 goals through eight rounds.

"What he's turned into in such a short amount of time, the roles he can play, he's got the inside-outside balance," Hodge said.

 "When I finish playing footy he's one of those players I'll sit back every week and go "gees, I love watching him play"."

 Hodge said McCluggage's improvement had mirrored Brisbane's in his time at the club.

Sitting in the top eight with a 5-3 record, the Lions have another strong test against Adelaide at the Gabba on Saturday.

It's been seven years since they've beaten the Crows, but Brisbane has already broken long droughts against West Coast (seven years), North Melbourne (five years) and Sydney (10 years) in its promising start to the season. 

"Our expectations have risen as we've been able to get this group together," Hodge said.

"It's just another big challenge for our group.

"We've been able to overcome a few teams this year that we haven't been able to beat for a number of years.

"We've had lapses in games where teams have had run-ons and I think all teams go through that stage.

"I know I've had that plenty of times in the past throughout my career but I think the pleasing thing for our group is for the majority of games we've been playing some good footy but we've just lacked that consistency for four quarters.

"When you come up against a good opposition most weeks that's a tough thing to do."

The views in this article are those of the author and not necessarily those of the AFL or its clubs