‘Troublesome’ Lodge on chopping block as Kev cuts roster
A nice little summary of Brisbane's year goes that, after organising a press tour for Anthony Seibold's departure from the club, that included a full round of interviews, incoming coach Kevin Walters organised his own.
It is not true, though, that Walters had to buy his Broncos shirt from the merchandise store.
That was supplied.
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Why Walters was left to do it on his own might make for disturbing reading for Broncos fans.
The club, with several layers of skin freshly peeled, was bucking questions about the possibility of Craig Bellamy heading to Brisbane.
So rather than treat the new coach to the proper treatment they squibbed it.
In that way, Walters found a way to make it work for him. It works in perfectly with what Walters plans to bring to Brisbane.
"This is the Broncos," he says.
"We're here for everyone, not just the individual."
Walters did not put himself above special treatment and so already Act One of the new Brisbane Broncos era is being written.
Next Walters will go through the playing roster and relieve the club of some of those monster egos putting tremendous weight on the playing group who helped sink the club this season.
"There will be some changes next year" he says.
"There will be some big changes too, not just small changes.
"It won't be player 25 or 26 or 27 being moved on, it will be the other end as well."
The troublesome one is Matt Lodge.
Lodge at one point was being positioned to captain the club two seasons ago even though Anthony Seibold was being told by anyone he spoke to that Lodge was not a Broncos captain.
The board had said no, his assistants said no, yet Seibold pressed ahead.
If ever there was a caption for how the Broncos went wrong this was it.
Seibold's push was a recognition that Lodge was the dominant character in the playing group. He held great sway over the players, as if that was enough.
It wasn't, of course.
Lodge is anti-authority. He is a strong personality and a tremendous player but even this season his influence over the group began to steer them wrong.
He was a strong voice on how the team should train and how it should play, what weights they should do, how much training was enough, when they needed a day off, how much air should go in the ball …
When his path with Seibold began to differ Lodge should have recognised it as any player would and bowed to the boss but instead it became a burr all season.
Walters doesn't coach that way.
That said, he worked briefly with Lodge in 2018 and found him agreeable enough so, pressed on Monday on the name that keeps coming up, Walters did not say Lodge will be among the changes - but admitted he is on his to-do list.
"I'm going to sit down with him and see where he is at," Walters says.
Lodge is destined to become the first test case at the new-look Broncos.
After Lodge, other high profile players, who are paid plenty, are soon going to have to earn not just their salaries, but the badge on their chest.
It is a simple outlook but one easily overlooked for far too long in Brisbane.
Not by everyone, though.
So it happened last Friday after Walters was confirmed and all the media was done.
The Queensland Rugby League had a sponsors lunch with major sponsor Auswide Bank and Walters went along as the now ex-Maroons coach, one of his last official duties.
After it was over Walters grabbed a few and said let's go for a beer and so they walked into the Port Office Hotel to carry on their afternoon and heads began to turn as Walters was recognised.
And then it began.
One of the patrons stood and began to clap and quickly others also stood and also began to clap and soon the entire pub was on their feet clapping the new coach of the Broncos.
And they clapped not just because he was the new coach of the Broncos but because he was an old Bronco and in him they saw the promise of a return.
"I was humbled by it," he says.
An emotional man, he stopped there.
Originally published as 'Troublesome' Lodge on chopping block as Kev cuts roster