Hodko fires brutal shot at Brown’s ‘toxic’ media leaks at the Knights

Ex-Newcastle playmaker Trent Hodkinson has ripped into former coach Nathan Brown saying the recently-departed Knights boss created a “toxic environment”.

Hodkinson was dropped mid way through the 2017 season, despite being one of the more experienced and reliable players in Brown’s Knights side of the time.

Having recently retired due to a knee injury, Hodkinson opened up on being dropped from the side a little over a year after signing from Canterbury.

“The second year came around and I had one of the best pre-seasons I’d had, leading into that season,” Hodkinson told the The Horo-Scope podcast with former Parramatta forward Justin Horo.

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“Fittest I’ve ever felt. I lost a heap of weight, bunkered right down on my diet and everything.

“I started the year all right, and I think it might have been early in the season I got brought into the coach’s office and he said to me: ‘I want you to go back to [NSW Cup] and work on your confidence.’

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“I was like: ‘Oh, OK’ … I think he felt the pressure and had to make a big call.

“Unfortunately for me, I took the fall for where we were at the time.”

Trent Hodkinson of the Knights in action in the 2017 seasonSource:Getty Images

Hodkinson thought his time in reserve grade would be a short affair.

But after the weeks dragged on, he started to get restless.

“I thought I’d go back for a couple of weeks and get my confidence back, which I didn’t really agree with, but two weeks rolls around, nothing said,” Hodkinson said.

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“Four weeks, six weeks, didn’t hear a thing. Walked past each other, nothing was said. Ten weeks rolled around and I was just going: ‘What’s doing here?’

“In the meantime, there were certain things getting leaked to the media – the local media up there – that I wasn’t too happy about.

“I know for a fact that it was coming from him.

Ousted Knights coach Nathan BrownSource:News Regional Media

“After that 10 weeks rolled around, I said: ‘I’ve got to remove myself from this environment.

“It got quite toxic up there, with the ‘he said, she said’. It wasn’t a fun place to be around.

“So I started looking elsewhere, and got my manager to.

“I wanted to stay, but it got to the point where it had just gone on too long … it takes its toll on you.”

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Hodkinson was handed a big payout from the Knights but said he took a pay cut to leave and head to Cronulla.

“All of a sudden it was like they were my best mates again,” the 31-year-old added.

“He [Brown] came out in the papers and said: ‘Hodko’s had the hardest job of any halfback in the last decade. And I was like: ‘Where was that before? If it had have been nipped in the bud early, I would have had so much more respect for the coach at the time.

“It was just a very toxic environment and disappointing.”

Originally published asNRL exile: Coach created ‘toxic’ culture

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