English league star takes on new vista
Josh Hodgson has been finding his feet with the Eels – just as his kids have been settling in at Bella Vista Public School. Glenn Cullen reports.
13 February 2023
After sealing a two-year deal to join 2022 NRL grand finalists Parramatta, English rugby league great Josh Hodgson had some other very important business to take care of – finding a school for his children George and Ivy.
Just like settling on a new football club, the former Canberra Raiders hooker had to do some due diligence before coming to his ultimate conclusion.
And that would lead him to Bella Vista Public School, a leisurely 20 minutes’ drive north of the Eels’ base at CommBank Stadium in Parramatta.
“For us, I think we found the school first before we found where we actually wanted to live,” Hodgson said.
“We read about how good the school was and heard about it through word of mouth and the club and people in the area.”
Hodgson is expected to be a key member of a Parramatta team looking to go one better than their runner-up finish last year.
After eight seasons with the Raiders, the 33-year-old will look to put the icing on what has been a superb career that’s included 19 Tests for England.
But with another three weeks before the season kick-off, he’s had enough time to ensure his kids also got comfortable in their new surroundings.
“It (the school) has certainly lived up to expectations,” he said.
“The kids have fitted in seamlessly. It was pretty daunting for them, especially George who is a little bit older – but it’s a beautiful school with really nice people and I’m really lucky that my kids are really well looked after.”
Meanwhile, other members of the Eels also paid a visit to William Stimson Public School in Wetherill Park last week.
The Stage 3 students engaged with players during sessions around resilience and teamwork.
William Stimson was chosen due to the long-standing relationship it has with the club and its players. Prior to COVID, the school regularly hosted clinics with the Eels for mainstream and support unit classes, as well as the League Stars program.
One of the William Stimson teachers - Mrs Kylie Boulous, was nominated as the national Teacher of the Year for her support of rugby league at school, coaching student teams, and connections and providing access for the students to clinics, player talks and skill development.
Mrs Boulous had already taken out the NSW award.