Fatherhood proving a boon for Hoffman's footy game
FATHERHOOD is helping Brisbane fullback Josh Hoffman produce some of his best football at the right time of the year for the Broncos.
And he's not planning to go anywhere, anytime soon.
Hoffman, whose thoughts on being involved in a switch with Canterbury fullback Ben Barba were sounded out by the Bulldogs several weeks ago, and rejected, has been in devastating form since he returned to his favoured position a month ago.
The Kiwi international said the recent birth of his daughter, Leilani Grace, had also helped.
"I'm really enjoying fatherhood and that is helping my game," Hoffman said.
His daughter's name is a tribute to his mother Grace, who died tragically of a brain aneurism just weeks before Christmas in 2009.
The 25-year-old, who starred in Brisbane's win over the Eels on Friday night that kept their flickering finals hopes alive, said his aim was to, "finish off this year as good as possible and hope I get picked in the NZ squad for the World Cup."
Speculation is mounting that Barba will be released by the Bulldogs to move to Brisbane to be closer to his ex-partner Ainslie Currie and their two daughters.
Linking with the Broncos would almost certainly force coach Anthony "Hook" Griffin to move Hoffman to another position.
"I definitely prefer fullback, but I've tried to play good footy wherever Hook wants me to play," Hoffman, contracted until the end of the 2015 season said.
"This year I've played a fair bit of wing and in the centres, but I really feel at home at the back."
The most likely scenario, however, would see Barba play at fullback and Hoffman at five-eighth, partnering Ben Hunt.
Hoffman's manager Paul Hogan said that was a definite option.
"Josh has a lot more strings to his bow than many people realise," Hogan said. "Hook has mentioned the possibility of Josh playing six at some stage and he would certainly give consideration to that.
"Josh was a six in the juniors in Mackay and he played inside-centre in rugby union so he would have no issues going to five-eighth if that's want the Broncos want."
Meanwhile Barba's father Ken said players like former Queensland and Australian great Gorden Tallis should remember their own circumstances before criticising others for wanting a release from their contract.
"He wanted to do the same thing too," Ken said of Tallis, who sat out the entire 1996 season so he could be with his family in Brisbane. "For indigenous kids, to be with family is an important thing."
The Broncos are likely to have to pay a transfer fee to the Bulldogs to secure an early release for Barba.