Lodge’s key role in keeping TPJ at Red Hill
BRISBANE enforcer Matt Lodge has urged his good mate Tevita Pangai Jr not to quit the Broncos, admitting the grass is not always greener compared to the resources on offer at Queensland's flagship club.
The off-contract Pangai Jr is one of the most attractive players on the open market and his price tag will skyrocket with a bumper performance against premiers the Roosters on Thursday at the SCG.
The Roosters are tipped to launch a fresh poaching raid on Pangai Jr, who last year spurned the Bondi club to sign a 12-month extension at Brisbane, but the premiers insist they will not pay $1 million for the Broncos hulk.
Lodge last year turned down a massive offer from the Newcastle Knights to sign a two-year deal with the Broncos.
While he accepts Pangai Jr can earn more elsewhere, Lodge believes the Tongan torpedo can find other riches at the Broncos.
"The Broncos are the best club for resources," said Lodge, who sacrificed an estimated $1 million to stay at Red Hill after the Broncos helped him through his legal ordeal last year.
"It's a great club - it's a hard choice for anyone to leave this club.
"They have the best TV schedule (for playing games), the best of everything.
"The Broncos give you everything you need to perform. Sometimes that isn't enough, it's not just about the facilities, the people in the club matter as well, but it's a good club to play at because the amount of talent coming through keeps you on your toes."
Lodge turns 24 next month and is hoping to forge a decade-long union with Pangai Jr at Red Hill. The NSW Origin hopefuls have forged a close bond, regularly dining out together as two Blues on Queensland soil.
"If he wants to go, I will have to come up against him one day and he doesn't want to do that so he might want to stay around," Lodge said with a wry grin.
"I have been in his ear to play with me as long as he can.
"I hope Tevita stays here.
"He has to stay consistent and play well and he will get a good deal for himself and hopefully he stays here with me.
"My advice is to not read into the media himself.
"I thought he played well against the Cowboys (in round two) but no-one can back up a game like that every week.
"He carried the ball well but it's either the high of highs or low of lows and that's how the stories go. He just has to keep a level head and go about his work.
"The lifestyle, the facilities, everything you need is here at the Broncos to be a good player.
"It's a one-team town so you don't run into the other eight teams when you are out for a feed. You get to stay in the bubble and work hard.
"Tevita is enjoying here and if he's enjoying it, he would be silly to change things. I've done that before and sometimes it doesn't work out so you are best to stick to what you know."