Broncos defend signing of bad boy Lodge

Brisbane have defended throwing former NRL bad boy Matt Lodge a lifeline after confirming the ex-Wests Tigers forward has signed a one year deal for 2018.

 

The 22-year-old has been cleared by the NRL integrity unit to return two years after being deregistered over an alcohol-fuelled rampage in New York.

The then Tigers forward avoided jail in the US after pleading guilty to reckless assault for the October 2015 incident but was hit with a $1.6 million damages bill.

Lodge was allowed to train with the Broncos this season while impressing for Queensland Cup side Redcliffe.

Still, eyebrows were raised by the call at Red Hill to give him a second chance.

But Broncos CEO Paul White said Lodge had earned it.

Lodge in training with the Broncos. Pic: AAP

"We believe after much consideration that he has worked back to a place where he now deserves a second chance," White said in a statement.

"He has been alcohol-free for more than two years and is doing regular work with young men on the dangers of alcohol and taking personal responsibility for their actions.

"Matt trained with the club all throughout this year and played strongly for feeder club Redcliffe and we have supported him in both his on-field endeavours and his personal development.

"We believe he is now on the right path and a far more mature and responsible person who has learned from his mistakes and we will continue to support him on that journey."

Lodge avoided a year of jail time over the New York incident in which he punched a man before forcing his way into his apartment and trying to kick down the door to a bathroom where the man's wife and child were hiding.

He initially planned to retire from rugby league after being hit with the huge damages bill but was convinced by Broncos coach Wayne Bennett to give the NRL another shot.

Lodge took his chance at Redcliffe, helping the Dolphins finish second on the Queensland Cup ladder and being nominated for the tournament's 2017 player of the year.

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