The strong and impressive impact Mathew Lodge made in just three games in the Sea Eagles colours in 2023 has paid off for the hard running prop.
With 112 NRL games behind him, Lodge arrived at Manly in July from the Sydney Roosters but quickly did enough to earn a new deal with the Sea Eagles for 2024.
Following a standout performance in his first game for Blacktown Workers Sea Eagles in the NSW Cup, Lodge made his club debut for Manly against Cronulla in round 21.
Lodge quickly asserted his authority from the start, turning in a strong effort off the bench in the 30-26 win over the Sharks after Manly lost fellow prop Taniela Paseka early in the game.
The 28-year-old then backed it up with another fine performance in the 24-18 win over St George-Illawarra Dragons in Wollongong a week later.
However, just as Lodge was building momentum nicely, an ACL injury in the loss to the Sydney Roosters in round 23 ended his season.
“It was a blow to lose 'Lodgey' as he certainly added intensity to our training sessions and brought that to our game,'' said Manly Coach Anthony Seibold.
"He has been working really diligently reconditioning his knee in preparing to come back.
“We are looking forward to seeing 'Lodgey' back on the field somewhere between rounds four and eight.
“Once back, 'Lodgey' will make a significant contribution to our team.”