In a classic David and Goliath clash regarding salary sizes, Matt Lodge, currently on a train-and-trial deal with Manly earning him $1000 a week, is primed to take on the duo of Jared Waerea-Hargreaves and Lindsay Collins. The former Roosters players take home a combined $1.5million.
Having been with the Tricolours just a month ago, Lodge was given the green light to explore other opportunities and was immediately picked up by the Sea Eagles. While Manly could not slot him into their top-30 squad, the opportunity of regular first-grade play, although only earning $1000 a week, was a chance Lodge couldn’t pass up.
This publication has learnt that star Sea Eagle Jake Trbojevic was instrumental in Manly’s decision to get Lodge from Bondi. It seems he suggested to coach Anthony Seibold that the sidelined Lodge might be worth a look.
Lodge, aged 28, is eager to kick off the faceoff at the Sydney Cricket Ground on Thursday night. Waerea-Hargreaves and Collins are known for their fearless approach and it’s going to be a fascinating duel.
It’s an important game for both sides; Manly will want to stay in touch with the top eight while a loss will end the dreams of a September stint for the Roosters. Seibold recognises Lodge’s drive and potential intent on settling personal scores.
“We just need ‘Lodgey’ to go and do his job on Thursday and not get caught up with playing his old club. However, it’s going to be a fantastic battle” expressed Seibold. He praised Lindsay as an established Origin player and Jared as one of the game’s outstanding front-rowers for nearly a decade, which will make this a top-tier match-up.
He commended Lodge on his performance in the latter half of last year and his seamless transition into the squad. He perceives Lodge’s addition to the team as a great decision. But he noted, “We’d love to keep him beyond this year, but even if there isn’t an opportunity, he’s putting himself in the shop window.”
It was mainly Jake’s suggestion to bring Lodge into Manly, revealing their past experience on the NSW under-20s and the Australian Schoolboys teams. Jake recollects, “Mate, why don’t you have a chat to him, he’s playing reserve grade for North Sydney”, which triggered this move.
On the same note, Roosters captain James Tedesco, who is acquainted with Lodge from their West Tigers days, mentioned “He’s going to want to prove a point for sure, it probably didn’t end here how he wanted it to”. He highly anticipates a powerful performance from Lodge.
This game holds historic significance as the Roosters will celebrate their 2013 premiership team, commemorating their triumph over Manly a decade ago.