The NRL has ordered Matt Lodge to pay back the victims of his New York rampage and threatened to sever his contract unless he comes up with a payment plan.
As debate continues to swirl about the controversial Brisbane prop’s participation in the game, the NRL have put their foot down and ordered him to begin paying back the $A1.6 million ordered following a US civil lawsuit.
Ruth Fowler and Joseph Cartright said they had never received an apology from Lodge and he had never attempted to begin paying back what was owed to them. Those claims are disputed by the Broncos forward.
Lodge maintains he had on three occasions attempted to negotiate a payment scheme.
NRL chief executive Todd Greenberg said Lodge, who is on a minimum NRL wage of $100,000, had been told his approval to continue playing the game was dependent on him repaying his victims.
“We’re in dialogue with his agent and with his club and there is a strong desire to come up with a payment plan,” Greenberg said.
“There’s been dialogue between the parties but there is a strong principle around that.”
Following the first meeting of the new ARL Commission on Wednesday, Greenberg and chairman Peter Beattie were again forced to defend the game’s handling of the matter.
Beattie conceded the game had erred in not spelling out what rehabilitation Lodge had gone through to earn yet another chance at an NRL career.
“What he did and the programs he went through should have been explained a lot better,” Beattie said.
The fact he has reached out to apologise through the solicitor for the victims, the fact he was prepared to pay compensation, all should have been explained better.”
Lodge’s former partner Charlene Saliba on the weekend detailed a history of domestic violence suffered at the hands of the NSW Origin aspirant and challenged his claim he had never hit a woman.
Lodge was convicted of one count of assault and placed on a good behaviour.
Beattie denied the game was soft on domestic violence.
“The commission is unanimous in their support of the decision that Todd made,” Beattie said.
“Because we are about giving people a second chance, provided they’re contrite, provided they go through the programs to show they’re improving themselves and provided they don’t stuff up again.
“Of course we are totally opposed to domestic violence and we’ve got two very powerful and outspoken women on the commission. Anyone who knows Meg Davis and Amanda Laing will know neither of them are wimps.”