It has been revealed that an altercation between Matt Lodge and New Zealand Warriors owner Mark Robinson was the ultimate catalyst for his exit from the club.
Lodge was released by the Warriors last Friday, effective immediately.
It came as a shock, with reports immediately suggesting Lodge didn't have another club lined up. It had always been anticipated that Lodge wouldn't relocate with the Warriors to New Zealand in 2023, with only a player option remaining beyond the end of this season.
The immediate release however, less than 24 hours before a game Lodge had been named to play in, was a major surprise, and while reasons other than the impending New Zealand move weren't made clear at the time, it didn't take long for fans to start asking questions.
Reports suggested Lodge has been paid out for the remainder of this year, and next year, and owner Robinson all but confirmed that is the case, telling The Daily Telegraph that he bought Lodge out of his contract.
“We had an argument in a hotel, two alpha males in a pub last December,” Robinson told the publication.
“Two days later we shook hands and moved on but it never came right.
“He was unhappy so I bought him out of his option for next year and we parted ways.
“He didn’t like the club and he obviously didn’t like playing for Mark Robinson.”
Lodge is yet to sign with a new NRL club, and popped up in Division 2 Brisbane rugby union on Tuesday evening.
It's unclear at this stage if he will turn out for the Norths rugby club - who he reportedly paid an on the spot registration fee to play for - again this weekend when they take on Sunnybank.
When quizzed at a press conference on Thursday however following reports that the club were paying Lodge up to $700,000 for the remainder of his contract duration, club CEO Cameron George said all parties were "comfortable" with the terms of Lodge's release.
"As I noted to a journalist yesterday, the conditions and terms of any settlment terms or contract negotiations of staff or players will remain confidential," George said.
"That's only fair on both the organisation and the person that we are dealing with, and obviously their family, and other players and staff.
"We will not confirm a number, and all I can say is that the settlement was something that we agreed on, and are very comfortable with, and it sits well within our salary cap for the next season and a half."