Charles Henry Horder Hodgins
- 110Wallaby Number
Charlie ('Codyer’) Hodgins played for Newtown and, like Robert Stuart, had one outstanding year of rugby. It was in 1910, a period in which rugby union was in turmoil in Australia. The NZ professional team, the All Golds, had visited Australia, played matches and signed up “The Master’, Dally Messenger, to play for them. Then the Kangaroos visited the British Isles in 1908, approximately the same time as the 1908 Wallabies. Just when it seemed that rugby league was on the ropes, James Joynton Smith, an ex-New Zealander, put up one thousand pounds to induce a mass defection from the highly successful Wallaby squad. To the honour of the amateur code, fourteen of the Wallabies defected.
Now rugby union was in a precarious position as public interest shifted from union to league. The departure from the Wallabies’ ranks of so many players provided opportunities for others, such as Charlie Hodgins. When New Zealand arrived in 1910, the only NZ team to be selected between 1908 and 1913, they played seven matches. The first match was against NSW, captained by super-fit forward Syd Middleton. Hodgins, from the Newtown club, played five-eighth, with the durable Fred Wood from Glebe at halfback. Hodgins was known to be quick to seize a gap but, according to the critics, `disdained tackling’. Despite being deservedly beaten by 8 to 21, no changes were made to the NSW team for the return match. It was a close game, but NSW lost again by 11 to 17. The tour concluded with three Tests, all of which Hodgins was in. NZ won the first 6 – 0, then surprisingly lost the second 0 – 11, before prevailing 28 – 13 in the third.
Hodgins scored a try in the second Test at the SCG. Howell, et al, in They Came To Conquer, described that try: Just after halftime, “Australia then nearly scored, with Gilbert making a strong run down the touchline before passing in to Charlie Hodgins, but the latter was recalled as he crossed the line. However, the setback was only temporary as a scrum win soon afterwards saw Fred Wood dart away, Dinny Campbell carry on and Hodgins this time scored under the bar.” In the final Test, however, it was different: “Critics felt Hodgins was off his game, to the detriment of Australia’s back play.” When the Maori arrived in the same year, 1910, Hodgins was in the first game against them for NSW, again with Fred Wood, and it was an 11 – 0 win. He was also in the return match. Howell, et, al, state: “Charlie Hodgins was on hand again once possession was recycled, scoring near the corner.” NSW won the return match 27 to 13. Herb Gilbert, Dinny Campbell and Bob Stuart were among those to turn professional, but Hodgins was not tempted.