Rugby League bad boy Matt Lodge will resurrect his fallen career with the Broncos after signing a one-year deal for 2018 with the Brisbane club.
His deal under master coach Wayne Bennett is believed to be worth around $85,000.
Lodge is expected to begin pre-season training on Monday, backflipping plans to retire from the game.
The 22-year-old was rated as the best young prop coming through the system, however, he committed a regrettable crime in New York last year, which ultimately saw the young forward declare bankruptcy after he was forced to pay $1.6 million in damage costs by US courts.
The 116kg big-man has impressed in his stint with the Redcliffe Dolphins.
The Broncos have saved a spot for Lodge in his 30-man squad, formally awaiting approval from the integrity unit to allow his contract to be registered to the NRL.
“Matt was genuine about quitting, but we’ve been talking to Matt and it looks like he has agreed to play on, which is great,” Bennett said.
“He has done his time. He has paid more of a price than anybody else in the game. No one else has been out of the game longer, so he is entitled to get on with his life.
“He has made some commitments to us. He doesn’t drink anymore, he is going to university, he is quite an intelligent young man, so he deserves to play NRL again.
“He is a huge body, but he is also a very intelligent forward with the ball. He is a rare talent for the position that he plays. He has fitted in well here and I’m looking forward to seeing him in the NRL next year.”
Queensland forward Scott Sattler rated Lodge asana NSW and Australia representative in the years to come, after watching him play in the Intrust Super Cup.
“He’s the whole package,” Sattler said.
“If Lodge wasn’t out of the NRL for three years, I honestly believe he would be discussed in Origin circles right now.
“He played like a man among boys in the Intrust Super Cup.
“I’m glad he has decided to give the NRL another go. He’s got the skill, size and athleticism to be one of the leading props in the NRL.”
Broncos CEO Paul White warned young players not to make the mistake that landed Lodge in a USA jail, showcasing the aftermath it had on his career.
“The off-field work Matt has done gave us some confidence about what he could do for our club,” White said.
“Matt was serious about quitting. At the time, I was devastated when he told us he was going back to Sydney because I had seen the work he had done off the field. He had spoken to our under-20s players about his own life story.
“It’s important we keep supporting Matt. But there’s no doubt he can bring a real point of difference next year … I don’t think I’ve ever seen a prop with his talent and ball skills.”
Lodge played for NSW under 16’s and 18’s, before playing for Australian schoolboys, and Kangaroos under 20’s. The former Wests Tigers prop made twelve NRL appearances in his time at Leichhardt.