Anthony Griffin serves up his case for the defence

NEWCASTLE coach Wayne Bennett sung Justin Hodges's praises as being "head and shoulders" above everyone last weekend when he inspired Brisbane to a big win over the Knights to keep the club in the finals hunt.

But coach Anthony Griffin believes it will be Hodges' defence that can make sure the Broncos' season doesn't end prematurely in their last home game of 2015 against the Dragons at Suncorp Stadium tonight.

Griffin said Hodges and his teammates would need to produce a committed 80 minutes against an improving Dragons outfit whose NRL season is also on the line.

"That was his first 80-minute game there (at fullback) last week, but he's still got some areas he has to improve in," Griffin said.

"Tonight is another game and we need him to be very good at the other end of the field."

Griffin said he wasn't looking beyond this week, saying all that mattered to him and his players was 80 minutes of football against the Dragons.

That's the same scenario for newly-appointed St George-Illawarra coach Paul McGregor, who needs his own big guns - Benji Marshall, Gareth Widdop, Josh Dugan, Jason Nightingale and Brett Morris - to bring their A-games to Brisbane.

Griffin said the match against the Dragons would be another step up from the challenge of Newcastle.

"With all due respect to Newcastle, they were well down on their best team and their best form," he said.

"St George are putting out their best team they can and they are in their best form of their season.

"Benji is back playing very straight and very simple, and Widdop is obviously a class player."



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