He was a nib Newcastle Knights captain and the hero of an entire state with his Origin heroics in 2014.
However, it was almost all over before it really began.
Trent Hodkinson had a reasonably successful start to his career, however injuries often played their part and threatened to end it all early in 2012 while he was at Canterbury.
“It really tested me, that season,” Hodkinson told the Our Town Our Team podcast.
“It was round 4 against Newcastle, I got the ball out the back of two forwards trying to run an overs line and got bent back in a way, and my knee stayed out there and I tore my medial ligament.
“I didn’t have surgery on it, but it was still in the eight to ten-week mark, which was quite frustrating.”
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Hodkinson was itching for football, with the Bulldogs having assembled an all-star squad under new Coach Des Hasler.
“I was looking forward to being under him (Hasler) again and playing my best out of my footy,” he said.
“That was exciting, but then in round 4 that happened, and I had to spend ten weeks on the sideline.”
With the Bulldogs marching towards a minor premiership and eventual Grand Final appearance, Hodkinson was doing all he could to force his way back into the Bulldogs side.
Unfortunately for the likeable No.7, things only got worse. A damaged tendon in one shoulder was a setback, before a dislocation in the opposite shoulder ruled him out for the season.
“I was only 22-23 at the time, it was tough,” Hodkinson said.
“I remember driving home from one of the scans with my wife and I had to pull over.
“I burst into tears and said, ‘I think this is it because I can’t do it anymore’.
“I was lucky she was in my corner, because if it wasn’t for her, I don’t think I’d be able to continue.”
His inspiration to return to the top-flight came from an unlikely source.
“I then came across a book called 'Coming Back Stronger' by Drew Brees, he’s a quarter back for the New Orleans Saints,” he said.
“Long story short he came back from a 360-degree rotator cuff tear to his throwing arm, and I thought wow, I’m going through nothing compared to this bloke.
“I read that book and it motivated me massively, so I was able to come back and get back on the field in 2013.”
Hodkinson would go on to become a New South Wales representative and Knights Club Captain, as well as make an appearance in 2014 Grand Final with the Bulldogs.