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23 Mar 2018 18:15
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  •   Home > News > Law and Order

    I didn't fight Storm coach Bellamy: Lodge

    Brisbane prop Matt Lodge says a long-standing rumour that he was sacked by Melbourne after he tried to fight Storm NRL coach Craig Bellamy is not true.

    Controversial Brisbane prop Matt Lodge has denied a rumour he tried to fight Melbourne coach Craig Bellamy before he was released by the Storm.

    In his first interview since being allowed back in the NRL, Lodge on Wednesday defended the game's decision to hand him a lifeline in the wake of his New York City rampage.

    Lodge told Fox Sports' League Life that he had consumed a "lethal dose" of sleeping pills and alcohol and couldn't remember terrorising two young women and a family during the notorious October 2015 incident.

    The 22-year-old backed the NRL's determination to give him yet another chance despite being sacked by the Storm and Wests Tigers and a harbouring a lengthy rap sheet.

    He rejected speculation that he had been involved in an altercation with premiership-winning coach Bellamy before he was let go by the Storm in mid-2014.

    "I've heard this a lot, I don't know where it's come from but there definitely was no altercation with Craig Bellamy," Lodge said.

    "There was definitely no trying to fight him or anything like that.

    "I can absolutely deny that."

    Lodge will play his first NRL game in three years in Brisbane's season opener against St George Illawarra in Sydney on Thursday night.

    NRL CEO Todd Greenberg admitted the governing body botched the handling of Lodge's reinstatement by not forcing him to speak sooner.

    Critics have blasted the Broncos and NRL for Lodge not expressing remorse, explaining the circumstances which led to his downfall and detailing what he had done to rehabilitate himself before Wednesday's interview.

    Despite Broncos coach Wayne Bennett's refusal to admit his club had mishandled the situation, Greenberg said the game had erred in not making him put forth his side of the story earlier so the public could better understand him.

    "I'm disappointed we're not talking about all the other great things 2018 brings," Greenberg told League Life.

    "I think the main error in this whole process has been the lack of insight we've seen tonight, that should have been seen and should have been spoken about earlier."

    Greenberg also defended the decision to not interview Lodge's victims before rubber stamping his return.

    "My decision in this process is whether he's fit and proper to come back and play rugby league," Greenberg said.

    "I have to assess the material that's in front of me."

    © 2018 NZN, NZCity

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