The New Zealand Warriors have released Matt Lodge from the remainder of his contract with immediate effect.
The news comes after Lodge told the club he couldn’t commit to a long-term future across the ditch when the club returns to Auckland in 2023.
Warriors CEO Cameron George said the decision was made to grant an immediate release so the club could commence planning for the future.
“Matt told us a while ago that for professional and personal reasons he couldn’t commit to a long-term future in New Zealand when we return home for next season,” George said via a statement.
“The opportunity for him to leave now allows us to move forward with our future planning and to develop our younger players.
“We’re grateful to Matt for the contribution he has made since joining us last year and wish him and his family all the best for the future.”
Lodge says he still has plenty of respect for the club despite refusing to commit his future with them.
“I couldn’t see my family living in New Zealand for a long-term future,” Lodge said via a statement.
“Therefore we decided that the best thing for the club was for us to mutually part ways so they have some clarity.
“I respect the club and especially the boys a lot and hopefully I showed that by the way I trained and played physical and gave my all every game.”
While the break-up appeared amicable from the looks of club communication, SEN host Andrew Voss slammed Lodge for taking the Warriors “for a ride” after they offered him a rugby league lifeline last year.
Voss took to Twitter where he accused Lodge of using the Warriors as a “transit lounge” to reignite his NRL career following his Brisbane departure.
“In my opinion Matt Lodge has taken Warriors for a ride,” Voss’ tweet read.
“Just used them as a transit lounge in his career.
“Warriors fans have reason to be disappointed.”
....couldn't commit to a long term future in New Zealand. Despite signing with the @NZWarriors. In my opinion Matt Lodge has taken Warriors for a ride. Just used them as a transit lounge in his career. Warriors fans have reason to be disappointed.@FOXNRL @skysportnz @SENZ_Radio— Andrew Voss (@AndrewVossy) May 20, 2022
Lodge’s final Warriors game came against the Rabbitohs in the Magic Round loss.
He’s now free to sign with rival clubs as a free agent.