The boys all know how much the game means to our people, and that would be the last thing I would say if I was coaching. Go out there on Saturday night and represent your people, your family and yourself.
When you put that jersey on it’s a very proud moment, and you are not just out there for yourself, you are representing all the Indigenous community.
When you run out on that field and see and hear everyone clapping, the goose bumps that you get, you just take all that in. Calm down and focus on your game.
Get through the first couple of sets, that’s very important. With the side that we have, there’s a lot of speed. What we have to do first of all is to get our first few sets underway, and our kick chase, because that’s the most important part of the game: the first ten minutes.
To the debutants, just go out there and play your natural game, that’s why you got selected. Everyone knows what you are capable of doing, it’s just a matter of going out there and performing.
The more relaxed you are without trying to put too much pressure on yourself is important, and just going out there and doing what naturally comes to you.
This game means everything. I played for my state and my country, and for the Broncos and Roosters, but there was no prouder moment than playing for that side, and the Indigenous jersey.
The amount of people that came before us and paved the way for us to play the game, and the amount of people that look up to us, and respect us as heroes for them.
For me there couldn’t be a prouder moment, and it’s a moment that I will probably never get to have again, but to those boys - cherish that jersey, it means a lot to a lot of people.
You can see Justin Hodges on League Nation Live, this Saturday on NITV from 3:30pm EST, and every Tuesday at 7.30pm starting from March 1.