Lodge keen to ink new deal to lead Broncos pack long term
Matt Lodge wants to lead the next generation of Broncos forwards to future glory long term as he targets a new deal at the club.
The 23-year-old forward has worn Brisbane's No.8 jersey in all 15 Telstra Premiership games this season and is on the cusp of agreeing to terms on a new contract.
Any new deal must be rubber-stamped by the NRL but that is set to be a formality now Lodge has taken out a bank loan and reached a financial compensation arrangement with the victims of his New York rampage in 2015.
After playing a key role in the 26-22 comeback win over Canberra on Saturday night, he got straight to the point when asked if he intended to be a long-term Bronco.
"I came here for a reason and I want to repay the faith. I’m looking to stay here," he said.
"I haven’t missed a game this season and Wayne and the senior boys put a lot of faith in me, obviously starting me in round one.
"I am just trying to repay the favour and do my best every week."
Lodge said coming to a financial agreement with the New York family was a relief.
"It was definitely a weight off my shoulders," he said.
"I can move forward now and I have got a clear head. Now I am just looking to build on my footy performances. I have got heaps to improve on, and the coaches are into me all the time to improve.
"There are definitely lots of parts of my game that need to be a lot better to get me where I want to be."
Lodge and fellow forwards Joe Ofahengaue, Jaydn Su’A, Tevita Pangai jnr, David Fifita and Payne Haas loom as the best young crop the Broncos have fielded in many a year. The former Wests Tiger said it was vital the group stayed together to build on what they had already achieved this season.
"When I first came in I was the young guy, but now I feel like the old guy," Lodge said.
"Our forward pack is so young, but those young guys step up and are all part of the team. Hopefully, we can all stay together and it is going to be a good forward pack to be a part of."
Lodge said he was targeting upping the ante on his minutes, which he added was a work in progress.
"I had the three years out, so that is getting better every week," he said.
"The more games I play the better I am adjusting because the game obviously got a lot faster the three years while I was out.
"I am just starting to build my engine now and build on it every week. I wouldn’t mind knocking out 80 minutes one day."
Lodge, who had only played 12 NRL games for the Wests Tigers before he made his Broncos debut in round one, said he had learned plenty from Kangaroos forward Josh McGuire about what it took to play at the highest level.
"Me and Josh McGuire are roommates so he’s been really good for me," Lodge said.
"He’s really experienced and professional and he’s teaching me a good routine. He’s been one of my go-to guys with preparing well for a game."