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Brett Hodgson and Luke Patten set for battle at the Halliwell Jones Stadium
Joel Monaghan is often impressed with Brett Hodgson's toughness, with the try shown above coming moments after Hodgson suffered a 'crusher tackle' from John Bateman
JOEL Monaghan is predicting fireworks between two of his fellow countrymen on Sunday as Brett Hodgson and Luke Patten go head-to-head in the battle of the Aussie full backs.
Hodgson’s impressive record of 88 points in eight matches since his recovery from early season ankle injury demonstrates his importance to Warrington, in attack as well as defence, but Monaghan pointed to ‘General’ Patten playing a similarly important role for visitors Salford City Reds.
The 30-year-old winger thinks it is no coincidence that Wolves’ improving form coincides with the former Man of Steel’s return to the top of his game.
“Hodgo has been great for us,” said Monaghan, whose hat-trick at the weekend leaves him joint top of the team’s try charts with Ryan Atkins and Chris Riley on 12.
“In a lot of the games in which we struggled at the start of the year, he wasn’t playing.
“He is massive for us at the back, despite his 70kg frame.
“He impresses me every week with his toughness and I have been playing 12 years.
“There is no-one quite like him. I don’t know how he does it looking at him in training.”
The former Man of Steel missed the opening three matches of the season after recovering from ankle surgery, before missing a further two matches against Leeds Rhinos and Wakefield Trinity Wildcats with a recurrence of the same injury.
But despite those absences he has shown remarkable endurance for a 34-year-old, dusting himself off after suffering at the hands of John Bateman’s Grade D ‘crusher tackle’ on Sunday and scoring with almost the next play of the match.
His contribution to Wolves’ attacking options ranks him up alongside Lee Briers and Michael Monaghan as one of the most important players on Smith’s team sheet, but Monaghan is also expecting a similar contribution from Salford’s number one on Sunday.
Having played alongside the 32-year-old former Canterbury Bulldogs player in the 2008 and 2009 country origin side in their native Australia, Monaghan is well aware of the threat he poses.
“Luke Patten is a great player and is one of Salford’s leaders, much like Hodgson is one of our leaders,” he said.
“He has been doing a similar job as Hodgson for years.
“I have played with him in a few rep teams and he is a quality player.
“He’ll give 100 per cent and it should be a good battle between the two number ones this week. We’ll need to keep him quiet.”