Goulburn Bulldogs coach Adam Kyle praised the performance of fullback Haydon Hodge after Sunday's 36-24 defeat of the Queanbeyan Blues.
In a match with no shortage of standout performances, Hodge was consistently one of the busiest players on the field. He cut a swathe through the Blues' defence nearly every time he touched the ball, and he helped to engineer Goulburn's excellent defence in high-pressure moments.
"He's the most humble guy I think I've met as a footballer who's played at the level that he has," Kyle said.
"There's nothing I can ask of him that he won't do for me. We played him last year at fullback and he worked the absolute house down every week. We talked about moving him into the forward pack this year just to change up his workload and we thought we could get some different skill out of him and he's been great there.
"To go back to fullback this week ... and deliver that today is something special. I'm really proud of him."
Hodge returned to fullback to fill the void left by Tyler Cornish, who is recovering from a jaw injury suffered in round two, and Cooper O'Connor, who donned the number one jersey in Cornish's absence.
With a number of players slated to return to the side on Sunday and Hodge capable of playing at fullback, O'Connor was given the opportunity to return to the Under 19 side and play with his own age group.
However, the depth and versatility of the club this year means that Kyle is not sure if Hodge will continue at fullback.
"We're so lucky this year, the depth we've got in our squad this year is fantastic," Kyle said.
"Whether Hodgy stays there long term, I'm not too sure, but it's great to have a club where we've got so many great players pushing through and every spot is up for grabs every week."
Hodge's influence was crucial in allowing Goulburn to gain the ascendancy in the second half.
The first half saw Queanbeyan repeatedly claim the lead, only for the Bulldogs to fight back each time. At half time, the scores were level at 18-18.
The second half began with a spectacular 20-minute burst from the Bulldogs, which propelled the score to 36-18.
Although their momentum slowed when Mitchell Cornish was sin-binned with 20 minutes remaining, the Bulldogs put on a sterling display of defensive football, and the Blues could only cross once in the next ten minutes.
Goulburn's performance even drew praise from Queanbeyan coach and captain, Terry Campese.
"Haydon Hodge is in tremendous form ... he carved us up and even old Doddo [Mick Dodson], 42 years old and running rings around us," Campese said.
This Saturday, the Bulldogs take on the Gungahlin Bulls from 3.00pm.
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