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Lodge puts 'rag-doll' days behind him as Storm loom

Broncos prop Matt Lodge learned "how to get rag-dolled" by Jesse Bromwich and company when he was at Melbourne as a teenager but now must return serve in Friday night’s clash with the competition leaders at Suncorp Stadium.

The Broncos, in eighth place on the Telstra Premiership ladder, can give their finals hopes a massive boost with an upset win over Melbourne.

Lodge was in the under 20s at the Storm in the two years following Melbourne’s 2012 title win and said it was a learning curve.

"I was just out of school when I went down there and I probably learned how to get rag-dolled a fair bit off blokes like Jesse Bromwich," Lodge said.

"They used to throw me around at training on the wrestle mat. Hopefully I have grown up a bit now and I will give them a bit better challenge this week.

"We just need to turn up at Suncorp and give them a red hot crack and get aggressive. They are the best team in the comp and I love playing them.

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"They are on the top of the ladder for a reason. I could stand here and pump them up and say they are the best pack ever but I am confident in who we have got around us. We have got to turn up and have a crack in the middle of the field."

Bromwich injured a sternum in the 11-10 loss to Manly last week but has been named for the Storm.

It is the lessons Lodge learned in Melbourne that he still carries with him each day as he develops into one of the game’s leading props. He said he "misbehaved a bit" at the Storm and copped extra fitness sessions off Craig Bellamy, a coach who taught him plenty.

"I got to train with some of the best like Cam Smith and Bromwich. I got to see how hard they train and how hard their pre-season is and how they compete on everything," Lodge said.

"Craig taught me how to compete and train hard. That time down there was invaluable for me. They have got such a good culture and system and I take a lot of knowledge from being down there for those years.”

It is a culture Lodge said the Broncos were also building. He only has to look to his left and right to find hard working forwards like Payne Haas and Patrick Carrigan who epitomise the building blocks of the club's strong recent month.

Haas is now a regular 200-metre eater and Carrigan’s game is going ahead each week.

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"It is always good to look across and see that I have got Payne in the front-row. We are building a good combination and I know that I can trust him. Hopefully he feels the same way about me,” Lodge said.

“We have got to keep building on that and what better way to do it against Bromwich and Asofa-Solomona.

"[Carrigan] has been getting better and better, especially his last three games.

"It is so important to have a hard working guy like that who does the unnoticeable work to come off the bench and plug some holes."

Seibold has also noted the improvement in Carrigan who he said was "enormous" in last week’s win over the Titans.

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"Over the last three weeks he has shown improvement every single week. If anyone watched him in the lower grades he played long minutes. He played 60 to 80 minutes every week and his weapon was his work rate," Seibold said.

"Dale Finucane sometimes doesn’t get the raps he deserves. I think he is a tremendous player. Patty for me falls in the same boat. I am really pleased that he is finding improvement and is doing what he did in lower grades at a first grade level."

Meanwhile Lodge said the Broncos would miss the suspended Tevita Pangai jnr but added that Matt Gillett’s return from a groin and back injury would only strengthen Brisbane as they target finishing the season with a bang.

"[Gillett] gets the best out of the people around him, he talks lot and he has got good leadership. It is awesome to have him back," Lodge said.

"At the end of the day we are going to get what we deserve. If we keep turning up and training hard and buying into what our coach is teaching us I am sure we will be there at the end of the year and maybe some teams won’t want to run into us."

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