NRL prop spotted playing rugby union just four days after shock exit from Warriors
Former New Zealand Warriors prop Matt Lodge has been spotted playing rugby union in Brisbane just four days after a shock exit from his club which included a massive sum payout.
The Australian prop was released from his NRL club after coming to the conclusion that he wouldn’t move to New Zealand once the Warriors relocate back home from their base in Queensland.
“I couldn’t see my family living in New Zealand for a long-term future,” Lodge said in a statement released by the Warriors.
“Therefore we decided that the best thing for the club was for us to mutually part ways so they have some clarity.”
The Daily Telegraph reported that Lodge received a bumper contract payout of AUD$700,000 on his release, hamstringing the Warriors who will carry a large portion of that against their salary cap for 2023.
In search of some playing time to keep up match fitness and skills, Lodge turned to Brisbane’s Norths rugby club where he turned out for their second grade side during a mid-week clash just four days after splitting with the Warriors.
Days after leaving the @NZWarriors Matt Lodge has played Rugby Union for North Brisbane's 2nd Grade side.
— Josh Bristow (@JoshTBristow) May 24, 2022
Had a few msgs about this… it appears uncontracted @NRL prop Matt Lodge is dabbling in #rugby. Told he came off the bench at no.8 for Norths 2nd grade last night vs Bond. TBC if he’s having a serious crack, but I expect to see him back in the NRL soon | @StanSportRugby @wwos
— Michael Atkinson (@kinson88) May 24, 2022
The NRL front rower logged 50 minutes playing at No 8 and made some ‘very impressive’ hits on Bond University’s second graders but was a bit scratchy on the rules of the new code in his debut.
After his introduction in second grade, the Sydney Morning Herald has reported he will suit up for first grade this weekend.
“If he wants to play, happy days, we will pick him in first grade but he might have an NRL contract by tomorrow or Friday,” Norths coach Pat Byron told the Sydney Morning Herald.
The hulking rugby league prop stands at 1.91cm tall and weighs in at nearly 120kg and is used to trucking the ball up into heavy contact in the NRL, making a switch to No 8 in rugby union an interesting proposition.
However it seems this is only a temporary stint with Lodge linked to the NRL’s new expansion club, the Redcliffe Dolphins.
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