RUGBY LEAGUE: Matt Lodge has been the name on everyone's lips at the start of this off-season with the controversial forward lining up for the Broncos.

Lodge came under scrutiny after a rage-fuelled incident in New York where he terrorised a family, after already facing domestic violence charges from incidents in 2015.

We ask, did the NRL make the wrong decision in approving Lodge's 2018 contract?

MOOSE: Lodge shouldn't have played until justice is truly served

THERE is something that makes me very uncomfortable every time I see Matt Lodge running onto the field.

Maybe it is the horrific CCTV footage of him bashing a bloke after breaking into his apartment in New York, or maybe it is the thought of his girlfriend cowering in her car as he physically assaults her.

There is no denying what he has done is abhorrent.

I know rugby league is the great game of redemption. It gives people second chances when all else seems lost.

Look at our very own Danny Wicks - he is a sparkling image of what rugby league can do for reformed people.

But Wicksy did his time. The same goes for Russell Packer.

Lodge still has more than $1.6 million in damages outstanding and he has not made a move to pay it back.

He has not served his punishment. There has been no justice in this.

A lot of people have been quick to say that he could not pay back the damages until he earned them in the NRL. That's absolute rubbish.

There have been plenty of football players who have had to get a hard-working job to pay the bills.

At the end of the day playing at the top level is a privilege. You have to earn the right to be there. But it also comes with a level of responsibility.

He is an active role model for our next generation. The last thing we should teach them is you always get off after doing the wrong thing.

I'm not saying never, I'm just saying serve your time.

POTTSY: NRL made a knowledgable decision on Lodge

THE longer Broncos' recruit Matt Lodge plays, the more will be dredged up from his past. At this rate we will know all about his high school and primary school days by the end of the season.

There's no defending his actions in relation to domestic assault and his horrifying attack in New York. Those actions are inexcusable, and I'm not here to try and justify them.

The fact is, the NRL has known everything there is to know about Lodge and the assault, as well as the domestic violence charges against his former girlfriend, Charlene Saliba. NRL chief executive Todd Greenberg admitted he and his integrity unit knew about all the charges and his actions, as well as his counselling and rehabilitation efforts, and on the balance of those things decided to allow him back in the game.

Rugby league is a sport that has built itself on redemption stories.

The best example playing the game right now is Russell Packer. The Kiwi international enforcer served 12 months in jail for a drunken assault against another man in 2013.

He did his time, and his future was uncertain until given a second chance. Now Packer has a Bachelor of Commerce from the University of Wollongong. Plus he has paid off the $300,000 owed from the assault.

Had the NRL turned their back on Packer, who knows what might have happened to him. The jury is out if Lodge follows his path, but for the sake of the game, I hope he does.



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