https://www.couriermail.com.au/sport/nrl/brisbane-prop-matt-lodge-has-committed-to-the-broncos-with-new-twoyear-contract/news-story/331411fd05aea2681e189ed5eab0f1f8Broncos stars Tevita Pangai Jr, Matt Lodge sign new deals
Pangai Jr’s Broncos cohort Matt Lodge completed his remarkable NRL resurrection by inking a two-year upgrade, his extension rubber-stamped just 24 hours after winger Corey Oates signed a 12-month deal.
Now Pangai Jr is the final big-name top-liner to finalise his future. The Broncos are expected to announce a one-year deal for the Tongan international as early as Friday.
A short-term contract still leaves Pangai Jr open to being poached by Wayne Bennett at Souths for the 2020 season, but Lodge is confident his good mate will remain at Red Hill for the long haul.
Matt Lodge has committed to the Broncos for two extra years. Picture: Annette Dew
“Tevita won’t leave, he will be here, I won’t let him go,” said Lodge, who is tied to the Broncos until the end of 2020.
“I won’t be urging him to leave, that’s for sure.
“Tevita can be a freak.
“It’s good that I am close with him because we just have to work on being consistent on the field next season.
“We get together off the field and it helps us stay on track. We need to step up even more next year with guys like Josh McGuire and Sam Thaiday leaving.
“If we have a dud season (in 2019), it won’t be good.”
Matt Lodge talks to new Broncos coach Anthony Seibold at training.
Pangai Jr played 22 games last season and produced some barnstorming performances that saw him labelled Brisbane’s version of Cowboys wrecking ball Jason Taumalolo.
But he was also left frustrated by a series of hamstring injuries which have prompted the 22-year-old to undergo intensive off-season rehabilitation to strengthen his frame.
The 113kg forward held talks with Newcastle coach Nathan Brown just a month before the NRL finals, but said last month he never seriously considered quitting the Broncos.
“I looked at the Newcastle set-up but it was a curiosity thing,” he said while holidaying in America.
“I am from Newcastle and my best mates are there, so naturally I was keen to look at their set-up.
“They are going to be a strong club in the next few years so they were attractive, but I feel like I can play my best football at the Broncos.”
Lodge hopes Pangai’s bond is too strong to break. (Albert Perez/Getty Images)
If any player was tipped to follow Bennett out of Red Hill, it was Lodge.
When the prop was banned from the code for two years following his alcohol-fuelled episode while holidaying in America, it was Bennett who threw him a lifeline with a basic Broncos contract.
Lodge will always be indebted to Bennett’s mentoring, but says he couldn’t walk away from a Broncos club that rallied around him during a firestorm of criticism over his NRL registration earlier this season.
“It (a new contract) is something I’ve worked towards for a long time,” he said.
“I wasn’t ready to leave Brisbane. I’m glad I’m here and I can keep working hard.
“I took the coaching situation out of it. Brisbane got behind me, the fans and members and we have a good group of people here.
“It’s not just the coach (Bennett), everyone from the top of the club to the bottom has helped me out a lot.
“I took that into account.
Origin game two in Perth 2019
“I definitely feel welcome here. (Queensland) is not my home, Sydney is my home, all my family are down there, but I’m willing to sacrifice living away from them because I enjoy being up here and the squad we have at the Broncos.”
Lodge said the darkest moment of his life in New York three years ago has made him appreciate his upgraded Broncos deal.
“I just believe once you have nothing, you appreciate everything that comes your way,” he said.
“I am very grateful for the contract and the opportunity to play on.
“This time 12 months ago, I didn’t have a pre-season because I had to go down to Sydney for some family stuff.
“It’s good to come back with a fresh year and hopefully get some new results.”
Then there’s just more about YawnionWallabies' next big thing Perese in shock defection to NRL
The Queensland winger once touted as the Wallabies' next big thing will pitch up for training with the Broncos on Monday in a sensational code-swapping blow to Australian rugby.
Izaia Perese, hailed by Michael Cheika just 12 months ago for "killing it" in a Wallabies touring squad, has signed a training replacement contract with the Brisbane NRL club via their affiliate Redcliffe Dolphins and is likely to win a full-time deal.
Reds to Red Hill: Izaia Perese is understood to have signed with Broncos affiliate the Redcliffe Dolphins. CREDIT:AAP
The Herald understands his release will make way for Rebels winger Sefa Naivalu to move north to Ballymore in a consolatory win for Wallabies coach Cheika and Rugby Australia's talent retention campaign.
But Perese's exit from Queensland has not been without drama, with the 21-year-old understood to have been a no-show at pre-season training for some time at Ballymore while the Reds, Rebels and Rugby Australia negotiated over his release.
It is also an abortive end to a rugby career that held great promise. Considered a genuine product of the Queensland pathway, the former Australian Schoolboy won a GPS title with the Anglican Church Grammar School first XV team, which also boasted future Broncos Kalyn Ponga and Jayden Su'a, plus Mack Mason, Angus Scott Young, Liam Wright and Harley Fox.
He was singled out by Cheika a number of times as a player that could form part of Australia's World Cup plans and was selected to tour with the Wallabies in a training capacity during the Rugby Championship last year.
"He's killing it," the Australian coach said at the time.
"He's in a very competitive position. I think he's a guy who can defend in the midfield as well.
"He's got that genuine pace; he's got a great mindset and a great attitude. He's coming along very nicely."
Sefa Naivalu will move to the Reds from Melbourne in coming weeks. CREDIT:AAP
He was sent home from the tour to get some game time under his belt in the NRC and looked set to light up the 2018 Super season after scoring the match-winning try for Queensland's trial match against the Fiji Warriors. But a knee ligament injury ruled him out of much of the season and the powerful runner struggled to make an impact after that.
By June rumours were circulating he would sign with the Broncos for 2020 but the Herald understands Perese couldn't get out of rugby fast enough in the end, with a training replacement deal agreed with the Broncos via their Instrust Super Cup feeder team Redcliffe and an NRL debut a near certainty in the not too distant future.
Whoa, whoa; pump the brakes union journalist.From the SMH
Then there’s just more about Yawnion
He wont be able to brush off tackles like a few of them unless nikorima swaps teams.
Under 16 Origin too in 2013.Genuinely optimistic about the signing. I don't watch a ton of Rah Rah, but caught a few games of Perese's and was impressed with his foot-work and his ability to create chances in tight quarters.
It's bit of a homecoming as well for Perese. He actually played Rugby League for Norths in his junior days, so he isn't starting from scratch in this sport. It was one of the reasons why I kept an eye on him, I like to give my rah rah mates stick for all the League converts (Timu being the new go-to guy).