Sydney-born Warrior Matt Lodge has reportedly turned down a sizable contract extension to stay at Mount Smart, with the controversial 26-year-old keen to remain on Australian soil.
As first reported by The Daily Telegraph's David Riccio, the ex-Bronco was said to have been tabled a three-year deal to remain under Nathan Brown's stewardship, however, it now appears likely that the forward will link up with a Harbour City side instead.
Speaking on SEN 1170, Riccio stated that the Blacktown junior had eyes only on a place with one of eight Sydney franchises.
“Matt Lodge, it’s an interesting one as he’s rejected a significant three-year deal with the Warriors,” the scribe stated.
“It’s because he wants to return to Sydney."
Still, Riccio held the view that there may not be many takers for Lodge's services.
“I really can’t see too many clubs (that’d sign him), when I have a look at who would be interested in Matt Lodge," Riccio added.
“I think it’s a big play from Lodge to reject that offer.
“Obviously, he’s formerly a Wests Tiger and any player of note is linked to them.
“But other than that, I can’t see an opening from Lodge at this point in time and I think it’s a big call from Lodge to reject that offer.”
Although the Warriors' mid-season offer to Lodge in 2021 can easily be construed as a lifeline after off-field issues had been littered throughout his first-grade career, the prop's choice to turn his back on the Kiwi club comes fresh off the back of Euan Aitken's early exit.
Aitken, 26, was granted an early release from his deal with the Warriors last week and is now free to open talks with rival clubs for the 2023 season.
With the genie now out of the bottle, the Auckland-based side are sure to be fretting out the prospect of losing fellow Aussie star Reece Walsh, with the talented teenager holding a clause in his deal that could see him buck back to the Broncos.
Lodge, Aitken and Walsh have all been named in the Warriors' Round 4 side to face the Broncos at Moreton Daily Stadium on Saturday afternoon.