AAP Rugby

NRL’s Lodge settles with New York victims

By AAP Newswire

Matt Lodge's controversial NRL second chance looks likely to extend beyond this season, with the Brisbane prop taking out a bank loan to pay the victims of his 2015 New York rampage.

Lodge avoided a 12-month jail term in the US over the attack with a plea deal, but was hit with a $1.6 million damages bill from a civil suit.

Broncos boss Paul White and Lodge's father met the victims and their legal team on June 11 in the US, reaching a deal which White said both parties wanted to keep confidential.

Lodge said a figure, which would be paid up front in one instalment, had given his family closure but knew he had a way to go to win back the respect of the community.

"I want to reiterate how sorry I am for what happened and how it has impacted them," said Lodge on Wednesday, reading from a statement.

"Moving forward, I now have a young family ... fully appreciate the consequences of my actions on a daily basis.

"I think about what happened in New York every day and it drives me to be a better person, a better father and better member of society."

There was widespread condemnation earlier this year when details of his predicament surfaced, with the NRL refusing to sign off on a new deal until his debt was sorted.

White said the club would wait for the "green light" from the league and indicated it was keen to extend the 23-year-old's one-year contract.

That deal was signed late last year amid controversy, allowing him to return to the NRL this season for the first time since the New York incident.

"Yeah, in an ideal world," said White of a new contract.

"I've come to know Matt well during his time at the club - his behaviour has been exemplary.

"Matt's taken extensive steps, been alcohol-free for that entire amount of time, done considerable rehabilitation programs ... and continues to work hard," the CEO said.

White said he didn't regret offering Lodge a lifeline despite the public outcry and dismissed suggestions he had received special treatment given his talent and potential.

"I don't think he's anywhere near the No.1 prop in the game; it wasn't a case we were driven by this just because he's a first-grade footballer," he said.

"He's a member of our club and we support him like we'd support anyone else - there's no hierarchy."