International Team Qantas Wallabies (Australia)
Provincial Team Western Force (WA) – Captain
Club Teams Wanneroo (WA) & Eastern Suburbs (NSW)
DOB 25 June 1981
Positions Loose forward (6, 7, 8 )
Preferred Position Openside flank (7)
Wallaby Appearances 14
Test Rugby Caps 8
Test Rugby Debut Canberra June 2010, vs Fiji
Wallaby Number 841
Super Rugby Caps 113
Super Rugby Debut Inaugural Western Force Game, Feb 2006 vs Brumbies at Subiaco Oval – Position 7
Super Rugby Points 65 points (13 Tries) – 6 tries in 2014 season
2014 Nathan Sharpe Medalist (formerly Force Player of the Year Award)
2014 First Player to Play 100 Caps for the Western Force
2013 Force Man of the Year
2012 Named Club Captain at end of Season
2011 Member of the World Cup Squad
2011 RUPA Academic Award
2010 Force Player of the Year & Force Man of the Year
2009 Force Player of the Year
2007 Force Man of the Year
2006 Force Man of the Year
2005 Runner Up Ken Catchpole Medal (NSW Club Rugby Player of the Year)
2003 Eastwood Senior Club – Premiership winners
2002 SMH Club Rugby Player of the Year
2002 Eastwood Senior Club – Man of the Match in Grand Final
2002 Eastwood Senior Club – Premiership winners
2007 – present Wanneroo Districts RUFC (WA)
2009 – 2011 Eastern Suburbs RUFC (NSW)
2005 – 2006 Palmyra Rugby Club (WA)
2004 – 2005 Manly RUFC (NSW)
1999 – 2003 Eastwood Rugby Club (NSW)
1994 – 1999 Avoca Beach Rugby Union Club (NSW)
Western Force Player of the Year for 2009, 2010 & 2014, Matt Hodgson has, to date, enjoyed a decorated career with the Western based franchise, proving himself an invaluable investment to their starting lineup as a tough, but mobile ball winner who provides a sturdy and reliable option in both open and blindside flank.
Hodgson was made Club Captain of the Western Force on 2nd August 2012 which seemed to only enhance the positive influence that Hodgson has always had on his peers. His “Follow Me” style of leadership on and off the field, combined with his close working relationship with the coaches, particularly Coach Michael Foley, has completely changed the culture at the Western Force. The team has never worked more tightly as a unit and has never had this level of professionalism and accountability in all aspects of their rugby careers. Hodgson is one only two remaining who started his rugby career under the old school mindset – respect was earned, you showed unwavering respect for your coaches and senior players, and you worked hard for your team mates on and off the pitch.
For Hodgson, one of the club’s remaining inaugural players, the Nathan Sharpe Medal capped off a stellar season 2014 that included becoming the first player to reach 100 Asteron Life Super Rugby matches for the Western Force; three man-of-the-match performances against the Chiefs, Cheetahs and Lions; and his first call-up to the Wallabies squad in four years. The 34-year-old finished with 343 points in a season that saw the openside flanker start every match, leading the team to the most-successful season to date with nine wins (five consecutive) and the most number of wins at home (six). He also finished the 2014 season as the Asteron Life Super Rugby competition leader in tackles (234) and turnovers (26) and crossed for six tries to make him the highest try scoring forward in Australia.
Hodgson’s Wallabies career started when he was selected as a member of the 40-man squad that contested and won the Tri Nations tournament in 2011. He was flown in at the 11th hour to join the Australian World Cup squad in New Zealand, where the Wallabies were bundled out of the competition in the semi finals. Hodgson completed a long year of rugby in 2011 playing open side flanker against the Barbarians at Twickenham.
In today’s fast moving game, Hodgson’s value as a player comes in his versatility to play across all the back row positions and consistently gain traction with the ball, demonstrating his worth at the breakdown.
Hodgson has grown popular with fans and Rugby critics as a true team player, playing from the heart and putting his body on the line in every performance for his team. In 2010, he was the only player to start every Super match and finish without substitution and became only the third Western Force player to reach the 50-cap milestone for the club.
Hodgson is a product of the NSW Rugby program, where at age 17 he was drafted by the NSW Waratahs as a lean and speedy flyhalf/centre, and was redeveloped physically and tactically as a loose forward. He debuted against Samoa and went on to play 7 non Super Rugby matches in the light blue.
In this time, Hodgson won selection and made appearances for Australian representative sides Australia A and Australian Sevens and continued building his frame as a sturdy Forward and honing his specialty in the back row. His progression to Super Rugby while at the NSW club was largely hamstrung by competition for his position within the playing group and the availability of test openside and Waratahs captain, Phil Waugh. Hodgson also had two consecutive years of injury that hindered his opportunities (Shoulder & Knee Reconstructions).
Craving the opportunity that had eluded him at the Tahs, Hodgson accepted placement across the country in Perth at the newly anointed Western Force Super Rugby franchise. In fact he was the very last player signed to the club by then Coach John Mitchell and Hodgson was even considering an offer from an NFL club at the time.
As sporting pioneers will declare, the road to victory for a foundation club is never easy, nor instant and all factors that go into a winning structure – talent pool, culture, strategy and so on – must be built from the ground up. In 2005, Hodgson reported for pre-season training and, along with the other players and staff, became one of those pioneers to begin laying the foundations for Professional Rugby Union in Western Australia.
In 2006, Hodgson made his much-anticipated Super debut when he ran out in the sea blue jersey for the Emirates Western Force’s historic first match against the Brumbies at Subiaco Oval, where he was named number 7 in the starting lineup.
That same year, his attitude and commitment earned him the inaugural presentation of the Force Man award – a recognition given to the player deemed to best represent the club’s values in all that they do both on and off the field.
The ongoing road to glory for the Force was not without toil and obstacle, but Hodgson’s continued steadfastness, grit and perseverance provided an example for what the coaching staff were looking to achieve with their recruits, and in 2007 he was awarded the annual Force Man award for a second year running.
As one of the more underrated players in Super Rugby and also in his late twenties (when the likelihood of realising International acclaim would be getting more improbably for many players) Hodgson enjoyed a breakout season in 2009, earning his first Emirates Western Force Player of the Year award and first Wallabies call up.
He debuted for Australia in the non-cap earning 55-7 annihilation of the Barbarians at Sydney Football Stadium. A serious shoulder injury sustained during the 39th minute sidelined Hodgson for 3 months but he returned for the Spring Tour later that year and offered up a strong performance in the midweek match against Gloucester & Cardiff Blues (Man of the Match).
Despite still not having his first test cap, Hodgson returned to his provincial duties for 2010 with the International experience bolstering his on field performance further and enjoying the best season of Super Rugby in his career to date. Media observers declared he was “playing out of his skin” and the Force staff obviously agreed, awarding Hodgson his second Player of the Year award in so many years. Hodgson rounded off 2010 with two Man of the Match performances on Wallaby Spring tour against Munster and Leister.
The long awaited test cap finally came when Hodgson was substituted from the bench in the 49-3 victory against Fiji in Canberra, June 2011 . Hodgson, Wallaby cap recipient #841, also made appearances from the bench in tests against England, New Zealand and Italy before getting his first test start against Samoa in Sydney.
Hodgson continues to improve with age and is a current member of the Qantas Wallabies and has added another 2 caps to his name. He is still the much admired captain of the Western Force and the 2015 season is eagerly anticipated by the Sea of Blue and rugby fans alike. 2015 is the 10th year for the Western Force and the 10th year that Hodgson has been at the club in his adopted home of Perth.
Lloyd McDermott Foundation
The Lloyd McDermott Rugby Development Team is committed to promoting Rugby Union and increasing the participation rate of young Aboriginal men and women.
The program engages local community development officers, volunteers as well as national sporting clubs to promote Rugby, cultivate talent and provide pathways for Indigenous players.
To date, Matt is one of only 11 players of Aboriginal descent to ever play Rugby Union at the most senior level in Australia and Matt will continue his work with the Lloyd McDermott Foundation to see that the number grows in future years.
As a proud “Roo Dog”, or member of the Wanneroo RUFC (WA), you will often catch Matt at any of the in-season events and games when he is not on the road with his professional clubs.
If you are interested in enrolling yourself or your child at Wanneroo RUFC, visit www.wanneroorugby.com.au
Requests for Support
Matt enjoys supporting his local community non-profit organisations, schools and junior rugby clubs with signed merchandise or guest appearances when his busy training, study and appearance schedules allow.
Unfortunately due to the high volume of requests received for support, Matt is unable to meet every request but a ballot system is used to ensure applicants have a fair chance.
Please send your request via the contacts page prior to the 1st of every calendar month, with at least 30 days notice before your event.