Matt Lodge at the Emerging Blues camp.

It's been a tumultuous 12 months for Matt Lodge but the Broncos prop is grateful for the chances he's been given after taking part in Brad Fittler's Emerging Blues squad.

Lodge was one of 23 players selected in the squad, which has produced several future State of Origin players in previous years.

Nathan Cleary, Angus Crichton, Latrell Mitchell, James Roberts, and Jake and Tom Trbojevic are among the most recent players to earn NSW selection after being picked in the Emerging Blues squad.

Lodge has faced plenty of criticism since even before his first game for the Broncos over a 2015 assault in New York. The forward reached a financial agreement with the victims of his attack in June.

After playing a handful of games for the Wests Tigers in 2014 and 2015, Lodge played 25 matches in his first season as a Bronco in 2018 and impressed NSW selectors enough to make Fittler's squad.

"It's been a fair journey. Since I got in trouble I've obviously been working hard to tick these boxes along the way, and I'm just happy and grateful I get to be a part of it," Lodge said.

Members of the NSW Emerging Blues squad.
Members of the NSW Emerging Blues squad. ©Nathan Hopkins/NRL Photos

"I'm just grateful for the opportunities, I'll just take it as it comes. I'm grateful that the Brisbane Broncos gave me the opportunity and I'm enjoying it up there, and as long as you do a good job up there little things like this come your way."

The 23-year-old said he had embraced a role in encouraging other young people to get their lives back on track after making mistakes in their past.

"I do a fair bit of work up in Brisbane and hopefully I can spread that [message] a bit more in the future, when I achieve a bit more. It's a bit hard when I just started playing last year so hopefully if I go a bit better I can spread that message wider and encourage people who have done the wrong thing that they can get back," he said.

"I get more of a kick out of that than pleasing people who don't need it. I get a bit of enjoyment out of helping someone that's done the wrong thing, or someone who's about to do the wrong thing."

Lodge, who recently signed a new two-year deal with Brisbane, said he never considered following former Broncos coach Wayne Bennett to South Sydney.

"It was sad to see Wayne go but that's footy. I've left a lot of my good mates and friends before. We'll stay in contact, I'll always love Wayne for helping me out and bringing me back so that won't change," Lodge said.

"No I was never going to follow him. If he stayed that was up to him. But it wasn't just Wayne who at the Broncos helped me, there was a lot of people from the CEO and chairman down all through the club.

"We've got a good group of players there and I'm friends with them, and I just want to be a part of that. Wayne going was sad but we move on."

Just because someone doesn't want you to achieve your goals and dreams doesn't mean you have to listen to them and give up.

Matt Lodge

Lodge accepts criticism is likely to follow him for the rest of his career, but said he learned under Bennett how to block out the noise from critics.

"I just learned that – I guess there is a lot of outside noise, whether that be the media or people who didn't want me to play, and I learned how to block that out, and it had no meaning to me and I just focused on the job I was doing and on the club and the team, and it's paid off," he said.

"Yeah that'll be with me for the rest of the career. But like I've said I can't please everyone and all I can do is apologise for what I've done and be grateful for the opportunities.

"As long as I'm doing the right thing I'm happy with myself and it sets a good example for people who have done the wrong thing – just because someone doesn't want you to achieve your goals and dreams doesn't mean you have to listen to them and give up."