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Hodge considering retirement backflip with Lions

Luke Hodge is considering playing for the Brisbane Lions.
Luke Hodge is considering playing for the Brisbane Lions. JULIAN SMITH

LUKE Hodge is set to play on at Brisbane Lions with the Hawthorn legend set to sign a two-year contract at the Gabba.

Hodge, 33, will reunite with Lions coach and long-time Hawks football boss Chris Fagan.

The four-time premiership star and dual Norm Smith Medallist will follow Sam Mitchell and Jordan Lewis in ending their distinguished careers outside of Waverley.

Hodge was always passionate about playing on in 2018, despite retiring after 305 games at the Hawks.

He has held multiple discussions with Fagan and has also informed Hawthorn coach Alastair Clarkson of his expected move north.

"He (Chris Fagan) knew I was still passionate about playing footy," Hodge told Channel 7.

"But I guess the main thing is we've got to make a decision about what's best for the family as well.

"There's still a lot of water to go under the bridge. I've obviously got to speak to Loz (wife Lauren), family and see what's the best for us.

"I guess it's a discussion we're not going to rush into. We've had a couple of chats with 'Fages' ... and I think both parties are interested."

"We are keen to explore the possibility of Luke playing for our club with his manager (Paul Connors) in the coming days," Brisbane head of football David Noble said Thursday night.

"Luke's ability to assist with developing and nurturing our emerging group as an additional on field leader would be a great help to us."

The Lions hope Hodge's near certain arrival will deliver a raft of on and off-field benefits, perhaps even enhancing their push for more games shown on free-to-air television.

Hodge said he hadn't given thought to lining up in a different jumper, but was eager to learn if he wanted to move closer to a coaching role later in his career.

"The discussion (has) happened pretty quickly, so I haven't had that much time to think about it (playing for another club).

"But I've given that much to the Hawthorn footy club.

"I think the reason why I'm probably contemplating this is the joy I had last year playing with the younger guys and helping develop them.

"(Playing again would) probably (be) another stage of my development, if I do want to coach a little bit more.

"Fages has said there's probably more responsibility ... doing it without going full-time into it.

"So I guess it's a learning curve for me, seeing if it's something I need to pursue."

Clarkson revealed he was surprised by the possibility of Hodge playing on but said the Hawks champ and his family had visited on Tuesday to get his thoughts on the offer.

"He's got a whole series of them he needs to give some pretty serious consideration to ... he and Lauren and young (son) Cooper came around to our house last night and told us about the Brisbane offer ... he's got a lot to consider," Clarkson said.

Hodge and Alastair Clarkson after his final match in brown and gold. Picture: Mark Stewart

"If it does transpire this way, it actually just scratches a little bit of an itch a little bit with the coaching, which I don't think perhaps he thought was an option for him.

"I thought, even last week, that media was going to be where he'd go, and that could possibly still be the case, but I think he's liking the idea of going to Brisbane for two or three years and seeing where it takes him."

Hodge has not played at the Gabba since Round 5, 2008.

Rising Star nominees Ryan Burton and Blake Hardwick said that Hodge's leadership had rapidly accelerated their development in the backline this season.

The emerging Hawks were told when Hodge retired to soak up all the knowledge they could from Hodge before his Round 23 farewell match.

with Ben Broad

Topics:  afl2017 brisbane lions chris fagan luke hodge

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