ZB

Warriors eye Origin star after shock departure

Author
news.com.au,
Publish Date
Sat, 21 May 2022, 9:05am
Dunamis Lui has been playing in the Queensland Cup for the Redcliffe Dolphins in 2022. Photo / Getty
Dunamis Lui has been playing in the Queensland Cup for the Redcliffe Dolphins in 2022. Photo / Getty

Warriors eye Origin star after shock departure

Author
news.com.au,
Publish Date
Sat, 21 May 2022, 9:05am

The New Zealand Warriors have moved swiftly to replace Matt Lodge after the former Broncos star's shock decision to quit on the spot.

Lodge dropped a bomb on Friday when the news broke the Warriors had granted him an immediate release.

Lodge remained under contract until the end of the season and had an option to extend the contract until the end of the 2023 season.

Lodge is yet to be linked with a new club, but recent reports suggest he is a target for Wayne Bennett and the Dolphins ahead of the team's entry into the NRL next year.

The situation took another dramatic turn on Friday night when reports emerged the Warriors have already identified former Queensland State of Origin star Dunamis Lui as the ideal option to replace Lodge.

The Daily Telegraph reports Lui could join the Warriors as early as Monday — if they can finalise a deal.

Lui, who played one game for Queensland in 2020, has been playing in the Queensland Cup for the Redcliffe Dolphins and is expected to sign with Bennett's team on a one-year deal beginning in 2023.

A deal with the Warriors would be a six-month deal through to the end of the 2022 season.

Lodge is also expected to sign with the Dolphins.

"I couldn't see my family living in New Zealand for a long-term future," Lodge said in a Warriors statement of his decision to leave abruptly.

"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."

Club chief executive Cameron George said Lodge had informed the club of his position a while ago.

"The opportunity for him to leave now allows us to move forward with our future planning and to develop our younger players," George said.

"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 departs the club with 14 appearances, his most recent being in last weekend's 32-30 loss to the South Sydney Rabbitohs.