Lodge: ‘First time I have genuinely been proud of myself’
MATT Lodge's return was met with great controversy but the Brisbane forward revealed his NRL comeback was "the first time I have genuinely been proud of myself".
Taking to Instagram, the 22-year-old pours his heart out in an emotional post dedicated to his family and friends.
It was a return three years in the making after Lodge was exiled from the game following his arrest in New York after a drunken rampage which continues to divide the rugby league community.
"I can honestly say after everything I've done in my life this is the first time I have genuinely been proud of myself," Lodge posted on his Instagram.
"No one knows the battles I faced and how hard I had to work to get back to this point. Didn't get the result on the field Thursday but after 3 YEARS out of the game I sometimes genuinely thought this day would never come I'm glad I remained committed to my goal and pushed through because it was worth it.
"Everyone wants to ride with you when you're doing well but I truly want to thank those who stuck by me and those who reached out to me when I was riding my low point I'll never forget it.
"That to me is the true meaning of #loyalty.
"It was the best feeling having Jess, my son Coby and all my family and friends watching the #comeback game.
"I'm so grateful for the opportunity to be playing at this special club with a special bunch of people.
"It's a new week and the past is the past from now on its time to move on and work hard towards the next goal.
"Most didn't think I could or want me to but I MADE IT BACK."
Lodge's partner and mother of his child, Jessica O'Sullivan, paid tribute to Lodge on her Instagram for all his hard work to turn his life around.
"So proud of you," She wrote.
"It's been a very tough road travelled and a few years filled with blood, sweat and tears but YOU have done it! You have all of us behind you and that's all that matters!
"You have a heart of gold and the man you are today is someone I'm so proud of and will happily say to anyone that you are a leader and influencer for the good! This is a good story and because of everything you are an even better man."