Former Wests Tigers Rugby League player Matthew Lodge directed a vitriolic, threatening and expletive ridden rant at officials who excluded him from consideration from the 2015 Downlow Medal.
Lodge tore up a prepared statement from his lawyers before launching into a rant so severe it was rendered unsuitable for publication and even drew blushes hardened reporters outside his Sydney home, where he has been living since returning from a disastrous trip to The U.S.A.
The former Australian junior representative was arrested in New York in October 2015 on numerous charges including harassment of two young women and the destruction of an apartment, intoxication and use of prescription drugs. He spent some time in the infamous Rikers Island Prison and escaped a possible 25 year prison sentence in The US.
Lodge asserted that these actions far surpassed those of Sydney Roosters player Shaun Kenny-Dowall, who won the 2015 medal for services to Neighbourhood Watch and promotion of Literacy.
Lodge was responding to a recent statement from the judges of the Downlow Medal, an award which celebrates the off field performances of players from Australia’s four major football codes; the NRL, AFL, A – League and Super Rugby.
An excerpt from the statement read as follows:
“Matthew Lodge was not registered with a club in the NRL, AFL, A – League or Super Rugby competitions during the voting period and was thus deemed ineligible for nomination for the 2015 Downlow Medal. This unfortunate, but binding, legal circumstance prevented the nomination of a player whose off field performances would otherwise have placed him in a very strong position to win the prestigious award.”
The time Lodge spent in Rikers Island Prison also influenced the panel’s decision.
“This led us to decide that Mr. Lodge has already enjoyed one of the medallist’s prizes, which is two nights twin share in the famous government lodgings in Long Bay, on Sydney’s beautiful eastern beaches, including one complimentary interactive spa experience and one complimentary individual portrait photography session.”
Lodge may, however, find some solace in the closing section of the panel’s statement.
“This ruling does not preclude Mr. Lodge from future eligibility for the award. He has been charged with domestic violence previously in Australia and was involved in an incident at King’s Cross earlier in 2015. This makes him a fantastic role model to the young men he was coaching at Penrith Rugby League Club and places him in a perfect position to be considered for the medal in the near future.”