Clause to keep gun Bronco in Brisbane’s stable
Brisbane coach Anthony Seibold has lauded Matt Lodge's leadership ability as it emerged the Broncos prop contains a key clause in his contract that can keep him at Red Hill until the end of 2022.
Lodge, who turns 24 this Friday, continued his outstanding season on Saturday night, combining with front-row cohort Payne Haas as he charged for 167 metres in Brisbane's grinding 8-2 defeat of the Warriors in Auckland.
The 117kg bookend has now amassed a whopping 1216 metres this season at an average of 152 per game, numbers that have piqued the interest of NSW selectors.
And the good news for the Broncos is that Lodge has the contractual ability to pledge his allegiance to the club for the long haul.
Last December, Lodge shunned a massive offer from Newcastle to ink a two-year deal with Brisbane, but what few know is that he has an additional two-year option in his favour, which could keep him at the Broncos for another four years.
If he continues his rampaging form in a Broncos team littered with young guns, Lodge would surely be keen to activate the option and spearhead Brisbane's pack until his late 20s.
While engine-room partner Haas has sent the NRL world into a frenzy with his midfield talents, Seibold rates Lodge as the unsung hero with his grunt, workrate and no-nonsense charges.
"Payne Haas and Matt Lodge have done a good job for us the last few weeks," Seibold said.
"Payne has got a lot of media and rightly so for his performances, but sometimes I feel 'Lodgey' gets forgotten about.
"He has been a real leader for our pack for the entire season.
"Sometimes Lodgey doesn't get the pats on the back but he has been very good for us, the growth in his game and his leadership on and off the field has been very good. It's a credit to him.
"I'm really enjoying seeing what Payne and Lodgey are doing for us at the moment, they are really doing their jobs."
In eight games this season, Lodge has failed to amass 100 metres or more in a match just one.
His season-best effort, 213 metres against premiers the Roosters a fortnight ago in Brisbane's 15-10 boilover, underscored Lodge's ability to step up against top-shelf opposition.
Seibold said Lodge was the poster boy for the evolution of Brisbane's slew of young talents including Haas, Tom Flegler, Pat Carrigan, David Fifita and Kotoni Staggs.
The Broncos enter the bye weekend with a 5-6 record and are back in touch with the top eight ahead of their next clash against the Titans on Sunday week.
"We've got some talented players and you want to see them use their talents and abilities, but it's my job to make them accountable," Seibold said.
"I've got a game model built around efforts and we are seeing traction.
"I have picked this team on effort over the last three games in particular and they have kept turning up for each other which is really pleasing.
"We get an opportunity to take a breath now and when we come back (from the bye), I want to see effort again."