A sensational financial payout from the Brisbane Broncos has catapulted Matt Lodge to the summit of the NRL's rich list for 2021.
According to The Daily Telegraph, Lodge is understood to have received close to $1.3 million as he and the Red Hill club cut ties a fortnight ago.
The payout immediately places Lodge ahead of the league's reportedly highest-paid player in Manly's Daly Cherry-Evans, who will pocket an estimated $1.2 million over the course of 2021.
On top of the Broncos' departing gift, the Warriors will also fork up close to $150,000 for Lodge's services for the remainder of this season.
The estimated tally places lodge roughly $250,000 ahead of the rest of the competition, with Dragons playmaker Ben Hunt, Roosters superstar James Tedesco, Sea Eagles fullback Tom Trbojevic and Titans recruit David Fifita all on a reported $1.1 million.
With Lodge remaining to have another full season on his contract with the Broncos, and a further two years via a player-option, the payout looks to have compensated the 26-year-old for his originally secured place at the club until 2024.
According to News Corp's report, the substantial payout won't hinder the Broncos' salary cap for the one season, with the NRL allowing clubs to split payout fees across multiple campaigns.