Broncos coach Kevin Walters has come under fire for “bizarre” mixed messaging following Brisbane’s drastic backflip on the playing future of front-rower Matt Lodge.
On Thursday, Broncos prop Matt Lodge was granted a release to join the New Zealand Warriors effective immediately.
The Australian’s Brent Read reported the Broncos will pay up to $1.5 million of Lodge’s salary over the coming years.
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The 26-year-old’s exit comes just three days after Walters told reporters that Lodge would not be granted a mid-season release.
“He’ll be staying here. We just need to get some security, some safety around the players on their futures and that’s the decision we’ve made,” Walters said on Monday.
“The uncertainty was probably one of the factors among the playing group and who’s staying, who’s going, so we put it in a basket and put it to the side. No one’s going anywhere, we’re going to finish the season in a positive note, in a good note, in a winning note.”
Rugby league pundits have subsequently accused the Broncos mentor of “blatantly lying” to his fanbase.
The problem the likes of Kevin Walters don't understand with either blatantly lying to the media or being so wrong about situations like Lodge and Coates this year is why should they be trusted in the future? Should we believe Walters when he denies claims of a player revolt?
Someone explain to Kevin Walters when you lie at a press conference, you’re lying to your fans. They watch it. They believe it. His credibility is totally shot. So much mixed messaging this year. No wonder players are confused.
Even the fans are noticing…
Brisbane boss Dave Donaghy claimed Walters’ remarks were accurate at the time, suggesting there was an eleventh-hour decision to release Lodge.
“Stability is important for our squad and our club but so too is making the right decisions for the long-term, and sometimes those decisions aren’t easy,” Donaghy said on Thursday.
“There have been conversations since the back end of last year with regard to Matthew’s future at the club from both sides.
“There was no real viable option at any point up until the last 48 hours. Last week the guys had the bye with the rep weekend, they have all come back in and as all coaches do and should, Kevvie has wrapped an arm around his players and put a position forward based off the question he was asked which was absolutely accurate at that point.
“Following that there were a number of conversations that happened and changed the goalposts, which can often happen in rugby league happen quickly.”
Brisbane Broncos coach Kevin Walters.Source:Getty Images
Lodge has represented the Broncos in 65 NRL games since joining the club in 2018 following a two-year stint with the Wests Tigers.
“Matt is still only 26 but he has real experience and gives us exactly what the coaching staff want in the middle,” Warriors chief executive Cameron George said.
“We’ve been active in the market working as hard as we can to strengthen our squad in the short-term while also looking beyond to ensure we’re positioned to build our club to where we want it to be.
“Our recruitment team and coaching staff have identified areas they want to bolster right now while we’re also well-positioned with some great young prospects coming through for the long-term future.”
Walters’ maiden season as Brisbane coach has been anything but smooth sailing, with the Broncos registering just three wins from their opening 15 encounters.
Brisbane will next face the Cronulla Sharks at Suncorp Stadium on Sunday afternoon, with kick-off scheduled for 2pm local time.
– with NCA NewsWire
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