Controversial Brisbane Broncos forward Matt Lodge described his return to NRL as the first time he has been ''genuinely proud of myself''' in his life.
In a post on his Instagram account, Lodge said his persistence and dedication to turning his life around resulted in his first match back in the competition.
''I can honestly say after everything I’ve done in my life this is the first time I have genuinely been proud of myself,’’ he said in the post.
''No one knows the battles I faced and how hard I had to work to get back to this point. Didn't get the result on the field Thursday but after 3 YEARS out of the game i sometimes genuinely thought this day would never come Im glad i remained committed to my goal and pushed through because it was worth it.''
Lodge’s return to the NRL came three years after he was arrested in New York after a rampage that left four people fearing for their safety following threats and violent conduct.
The powerful prop said the opportunity he has been given by the Broncos was one he planned to make the most of.
''I'm so grateful for the opportunity to be playing at this special club with a special bunch of people.
It's a new week and the past is the past from now on its time to move on and work hard towards the next goal. Most didn’t think I could or want me to but I MADE IT BACK.''