QUEENSLAND coach Mal Meninga is expected to offer retiring Brisbane and Maroons star Justin Hodges a spot on his State of Origin staff next season, after his decision to retire at the end of the 2015 season.
While Hodges' heart and mind wanted to go around for one more season with the Broncos, his battered body was telling him it was time to hang up his boots, 15 years after making his NRL debut against Canberra in 2000.
And if the rugby league Gods are smiling, Hodges (pictured) will bow out as Shane Webcke did in 2006 with a premiership lap of honour in Sydney in October as captain of Brisbane.
"I never thought I'd come this far," said the 33-year-old, who has battled hamstring issues in recent years after overcoming knee surgery and two ruptured Achilles.
"I was just a boy from Cairns with a big dream.
"The time is right. The club (Brisbane) is in a great position with wonderful players.
"The body is starting to break down. I have had a really good chat with Wayne (Bennett), with my family and friends.
"It is better to go one year too early than one year too long."
Meninga has several former Queensland players on his Origin coaching staff, including Allan Langer, Trevor Gillmeister and Kevin and Steve Walters.
After Queensland's record series-clinching win over NSW last month, Hodges said he would be happy to drive the team bus to continue his State of Origin involvement once he retired.