Warriors coach Nathan Brown has taken “full responsibility” for Matt Lodge’s early release – despite the club’s owner revealing that his star gag fallout was behind the exit.
Lodge was sacked from the final year of his contract last week after claiming he did not want to move to New Zealand with the team.
But in a stunning interview, Warriors owner Mark Robinson admitted that he and Lodge argued in late 2021 and that things “never got better after that”.
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Despite the incident appearing to be a catalyst, Brown believes he should bear the blame for Lodge’s time the club not working.
“If you recruit a player and it doesn’t work like Lodgey’s case, it’s nobody’s fault except the head coach,” he said after the Warriors’ 24-16 defeat on Saturday.
“I brought Lodgey here to the club and it didn’t work out, so that’s just me. It doesn’t belong to the owner, it doesn’t belong to Lodgey, it doesn’t belong to anyone. I pay.
“If you’ve got a guy leaving the club who brought you to the club, you’ve done something wrong – it’s nobody’s fault but the head coach.
“If you move players you didn’t bring to the club, it’s not your fault because you’re doing your job to help the club get better.
“So I take full responsibility for the Lodgey situation.
“I brought Matt to the club and it didn’t work out, so the full responsibility should be on me – not on anyone else.”
Lodge got a release without another NRL club queuing up. He has yet to be linked with a club, but he was spotted playing second-class rugby union in Brisbane.
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Brown wants to see Lodge succeed wherever he lands.
“I just had a conversation with Lodgey. I just really want him to make his next club work for him, his best years are coming – that’s all I told him,” Brown said.
“He played some really good, consistent footy for us. I just want him to go to a club that suits him for a block of four or five years because his best football is coming.
“He’s only 26 and you want to see that he’s okay. Unfortunately it didn’t work out here and like I said if you bring a guy to the club and it doesn’t work maybe you should see what you’re doing wrong done.”
Before the Robinson-Lodge altercation was revealed, the Warriors released a statement saying that Lodge had been released because he was unable to take up residence in New Zealand when the team returns home next season.
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Euan Aitken will not be with the club next season because of the impending move across the ditch.
Brown understands players’ hesitancy and provided insight into his own challenges.
“It’s a unique situation,” he said.
“For my personal situation, when I signed with the Warriors, I was moving there with a family of four kids.
“During that time I’ve had one that finished school, one that started in Year 12, so things changed when Covid-19 happened.