Reported Super League target Matt Lodge has found a new club in the NRL on a train and trial contract for the remainder of the current season.
Lodge, 28, was recently told that he was no longer a part of the Sydney Roosters’ NRL squad for the rest of the 2023 campaign and was sent to the North Sydney Bears in the New South Wales Cup.
His management team had requested a release from his deal effective immediately, with the club opting not to renew his contract for 2024 after the re-signing of veteran prop Jared Waerea-Hargreaves, as well as the addition of Spencer Leniu from the Penrith Panthers for next year.
With 109 NRL appearances to his name across stints with Wests Tigers, Brisbane Broncos and New Zealand Warriors, Lodge has now linked up with the Manly Sea Eagles.
The club have confirmed that he will feature Blacktown Workers this Sunday in the NSW Cup.
Matt Lodge to fight for new deal in the NRL
His fresh move ends any speculation of an immediate Super League switch, with the likes of Warrington Wolves, Leeds Rhinos and Wigan Warriors having room on their salary cap to bolster their options for the current season.
Lodge was believed to be on a contract worth about £236,000 at the Sydney Roosters.
Warrington boss Daryl Powell has made no secret of his desire of landing new recruits to help finish the year strongly, with Thomas Mikaele having left earlier this year on compassionate grounds, while Josh McGuire was released from his contract following his second lengthy ban for unacceptable language in his debut season in England.
Lachlan Fitzgibbon has signed with the Halliwell Jones Stadium outfit for the 2024 campaign on a three-year deal, with Powell admitting the question had been asked to bring the new recruit over early.
However, the 29-year-old back-rower has stated that he is ‘fully committed’ to finishing the year at Newcastle Knights before departing the club.
Meanwhile, reported Wigan target Luke Thompson has held a ‘secret meeting’ with incoming St George Illawarra Dragons head coach Shane Flanagan, according to The Sydney Morning Herald.
Wigan boss Matt Peet confirmed his admiration for the player, although admitted previous reports involving a massive four-year deal tabled for the England international were false.
Thompson, who is yet to feature for the Canterbury Bulldogs in 2023 due to injury, is off-contract at the end of the season.
He has been limited to just 38 appearances across four seasons Down Under following his move from St Helens, but looks likely to keep his NRL dream alive.