The Warriors have made yet another move on the NRL’s player carousel, signing controversial prop Matt Lodge from the Brisbane Broncos with immediate effect.
The 26-year-old joins the Warriors on a two-and-a-half-year deal, after having been linked with a move to the club at different times over the past couple of seasons.
The Broncos will reportedly contribute close to $1 million of his wage over the next two and half seasons – a deal which includes a player option in 2023.
“Matt will add more experience and real size to further boost our front row resources,” Warriors head coach Nathan Brown said.
“We like what he has to offer us as a big body in the middle of the park with his ability to play big minutes and his impressive work rate. He’ll be a great addition to our squad.”
After injury limited him to just six appearances last year, Lodge, whose partner is the daughter of Warriors recruitment manager Peter O’Sullivan, has played 12 games this year and has been a strong player in a dismal season for the Brisbane club, averaging 12 runs, 129 metres and 25 tackles a game. He also has 41 tackle breaks and 26 offloads.
However, Lodge has a dark past, with his prior misdeeds including a violent home invasion in New York in 2015.
On October 16, 2015, Lodge followed and harassed a German tourist, telling her “This is the night you’re going to die”, as she rang Joseph Cartright’s doorbell seeking refuge. When the local resident let her in, Lodge forced his way into the house, while Cartright’s wife and nine-year-old son ran to hide in a bathroom.
Lodge punched a hole in the bathroom door before he was arrested at gunpoint. The family said their son was traumatised by the incident, and Lodge was sacked by the Wests Tigers, his team at the time.
Lodge spent two weeks in jail, pled guilty to a reckless assault charge and was ordered by a US civil court to pay over $1 million in damages.
The terms of his Broncos deal – where he was signed until the end of 2024 – are carried over to the Warriors, for whom is he available to play next weekend.
After starting his NRL career with the Tigers, the former Junior Kangaroo has made 65 appearances for the Broncos since 2018.
Lodge becomes the Warriors’ third midseason signing in a matter of days after winger-fullback Dallin Watene-Zelezniak and halfback Chad Townsend were secured last week.
“We’ve been active in the market working as hard as we can to strengthen our squad in the short-term while also looking beyond to ensure we’re positioned to build our club to where we want it to be,” Warriors chief executive Cameron George said.
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