New Zealand Warriors have agreed to release Matt Lodge from the remainder of his contract with immediate effect after the player told them he wanted to leave.
Lodge was under contract for the rest of the 2022 campaign. He also had the option to stay on for the 2023 season. However he is now without a club after the two parties decided to go their separate ways.
Dolphins linked with swoop
It now remains to be seen what the future holds for the front-rower. It is no surprise to see the Dolphins linked with a swoop. However Wayne Bennett’s side only enter the comp from the start of 2023.
That would leave Lodge without a club for the rest of 2022 unless a short-term deal can be arranged.
The decision has come as a surprise and completely out of the blue to many. However Lodge says the fact the Warriors will soon return to New Zealand is behind the decision. The Warriors have been based in Redcliffe during Covid times.
However their first game back in Auckland will take place in round 16. Lodge says he could not see his family settling in New Zealand long-term so it is best to make the call now.
“I couldn’t see my family living in New Zealand for a long-term future,” Lodge said in a statement. “We decided that the best thing for the club was for us to mutually part ways so they have some clarity.
“I respect the club and especially the boys a lot and hopefully I showed that by the way I trained and played physical and gave my all every game.”
New Zealand Warriors accept Lodge request
The news will come out of the blue to the Warriors faithful. However club officials have been aware of the situation for a while. Club CEO Cameron George says the Warriors will now look to develop younger players.
“Matt told us a while ago that for professional and personal reasons he couldn’t commit to a long-term future in New Zealand when we return home for next season,” George said.
“We’re grateful to Matt for the contribution he has made since joining us last year and wish him and his family all the best for the future.”