Bargain buy: Rivals baulk at $400k Lodge price tag
Sydney-based NRL clubs claim Brisbane is secretly prepared to pay a staggering $1.6m to offload controversial prop Matt Lodge.
Lodge, 25, is on a contract worth up to $800,000 a year.
He has another four years remaining on his current deal - meaning Brisbane would be ready to pay $1.6m to shop Lodge to another club.
That's an extraordinary amount of money to shell out for a player to join a rival club.
Sydney clubs could now procure Lodge for just $400,000 a season - but they are still baulking.
Lodge is a tough, uncompromising player and clubs are discussing among themselves how they could sign the former NSW under 20s and Junior Kangaroos forward for the bargain price tag of just $400,000 a season.
One NRL recruitment manager said: "The Broncos are still keen to get rid of Lodge. They have let it be known that a club can have him for $400,000. It's unbelievable.
"Brisbane has been subtle about it but they are trying to offload him. The Broncos might deny it but they have done the rounds, don't worry about that. They have made it known.
"You could get him for $400,000 a year and Brisbane would pay the rest."
Just four days ago, new Broncos coach Kevin Walters stressed Lodge would remain at Red Hill for next season.
"Lodgey's here,'' Walters said. "Matt unfortunately didn't participate too much in this year's NRL games and we're looking to get more out of him next year."
But insiders continue telling The Daily Telegraph that Brisbane would shed their big prop if a suitor entered the race.
While no-one at Brisbane would say it publicly, there are influential figures at the club that question Lodge's behaviour and personality on and off the field.
Lodge has two years remaining on his current Broncos deal and a two-year option in his favour.
He sustained two serious knee injuries this year which restricted him to just six NRL games in Brisbane's horror wooden-spoon finish.
Sydney-born Lodge has previously played with Penrith and Wests Tigers.
There had been speculation Lodge would join New Zealand but the Warriors categorically denied any approach.
Brisbane is looking to free up some money in what is a tight and cluttered salary cap.
There have also been suggestions that Lodge's robust playing style hasn't suited to up-tempo rules changes and increasing speed of the NRL.
Just last year, Lodge was being heavily discussed to become Brisbane captain. He returned to training with the Broncos last week.
Originally published as Bargain buy: Rivals baulk at $400k Lodge price tag