Byline: Peter Badel
RUGBY LEAGUE: Reformed bad boy Matt Lodge has revealed how secret talks with Roosters coach Trent Robinson was the catalyst for the NRL lifeline that delivered him to the Brisbane Broncos.
News Corp can reveal the contract machinations that saw the Roosters went within a whisker of trumping the Broncos for Lodge's signature as the 117kg enforcer fought to reignite his career following his infamous New York rampage in 2015.
Lodge returns from a two-match suspension tonight at the SCG and it is fitting he should confront the Roosters for it was the Bondi glamour club that initially offered the NSW Origin hopeful a shot at NRL redemption.
Lodge yesterday revealed for the first time that he met with Roosters coach Robinson.
The year was 2016, a time when Lodge was on the scrapheap playing park football in Sydney's west, 12 months after he was arrested at gunpoint by American police following his infamous alcohol-fuelled night out in New York.
Lodge lauded the support of Robinson, but his move to the Roosters collapsed when the club considered the lengthy battle ahead to have the then troubled teenager registered by the NRL integrity unit.
That opened the door for former Broncos coach Wayne Bennett to pounce, but Lodge hasn't forgotten Robinson's role in bringing him back to the NRL - culminating in their SCG showdown tonight.
"I had a meeting with Trent Robinson," Lodge said.
"I sat down with Trent and he was...