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Bizarre backflip as Brisbane Broncos enforcer Matt Lodge signs with Warriors effective immediately

Sporting News logo Sporting News 1/07/2021 Liam O'Loughlin

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Brisbane Broncos front-rower Matt Lodge has been released by the club effective immediately, and will link up with the New Zealand Warriors until the end of 2023. 

The 26-year-old was reportedly told by Kevin Walters recently that he was free to look elsewhere, despite being contracted until the end of next season.

Earlier this week, Walters told the media that Lodge wouldn't be going anywhere this year - but days later, that has seemingly changed.

Lodge thanked the club for the years he spent there in a statement released by the Broncos. 

“I’ve always tried my best for the club and for the jersey," he said.

"I’d like to thank everyone at the club including the fans and sponsors who have helped me along my journey in recent years.”

Broncos CEO Dave Donaghy said while stability is important for the club, the opportunity was there that suited all parties. 

“Matt has always given this club his best and certainly added a hard edge to the squad during his time as a Bronco, and everyone at the Broncos wishes Matt and his family all the best in the future," he said.

“Since the start of the year the club has been working closely with Matt and his management with regards to his future.

“In recent days an opportunity has emerged the satisfies both the club and Matt, and while it is not ideal for players to leave during the season, we believe this result is the right one for both parties.

“Stability is important for our squad and our club but so too is making the right decisions for the long-term, and sometimes those decisions aren’t easy.

“We have had a number of players re-sign with the club in recent months as well as some high-quality players who have decided to join the club including Maroon Kurt Capewell, who we announced earlier today, and Adam Reynolds.”

Warriors head coach Nathan Brown said that Lodge will bring experience and quality to their forward pack.

“Matt will add more experience and real size to further boost our front row resources,” he 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 great work rate.

"He’ll be a great addition to our squad.”

Already boasting the likes of Addin Fonua-Blake and Ben Murdoch-Masila, the signing of Lodge will definitely bolster the engine room for the Warriors.

It is believed that Brisbane will be chipping in a considerable amount of his salary, with Lodge contracted for another season.

The news of Lodge's arrival comes after the club signed Dallin Watene-Zelezniak and Chad Townsend with immediate effect, as well as extended a plethora of key players. 

“Matt is still only 26 but he has real experience and gives us exactly what the coaching staff want in the middle,” Warriors CEO Cameron George said.

“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.

“Our recruitment team and coaching staff have identified areas they want to bolster right now while we’re also well-positioned with some great young prospects coming through for the long-term future.”

Lodge has played 77 NRL games today across stints with the Tigers and Broncos. 

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