On the same day he signed a new deal that will see him remain in Broncos colours until the end of 2022, Matt Lodge has been labelled a future Brisbane captain.
Broncos skipper Darius Boyd offered the view into Lodge's future after the 24-year-old reflected on what has been a tumultuous journey after his infamous New York rampage in 2015 that led to him being deregistered by the NRL and relying on unemployment benefits.
Lodge has since made restitution to the US family that were victims of his home invasion. He has given up alcohol and has transformed his life on his way to becoming one of the NRL's most damaging forwards.
Lodge signed a one-year deal with Redcliffe in 2017 then two subsequent one-year contracts with the Broncos before securing his long-term future this week.
"It is massive for me. I just have to look back about three years ago when I was on the end of a shovel and getting Centrelink payments. Three years later I have got my dream contract, and where I want to be and at my favourite club," Lodge said.
Lodge extends Broncos stay with new three-year deal
"It has been a big turnaround for me. I have put the work in and it is finally good to get the reward."
Lodge said his partner Jess and young son Coby had helped him get through "the tough times".
"Now I can get a house, pay that off and work towards having a comfortable life with my young fella and missus. I can only thank the Broncs and the NRL for letting me play and giving me the chance to turn things around," he said.
"I am really grateful for the opportunities I have been given. There were some tough days but I got through them and now I get to put a roof over my family's head."
Lodge, previously at the Storm, Panthers and Wests Tigers, fielded a massive offer from the Warriors to lure him over the ditch. Making his subsequent decision to stay at Brisbane more difficult was the fact that Warriors recruitment chief Peter O'Sullivan is his partner Jess's father.
"That was a hard decision because [O'Sullivan] is like family to me now and it was hard to knock him back. It was a good deal," Lodge said.
"There was another deal [from the Eels] just around the corner from my house in Sydney but ultimately this is where I want to be.
"I have been to a couple of other clubs before but I am really happy at this place. I had to put the money aside and not take that into consideration. I love the boys here – everyone from the top down – and the group we have got coming through was a big factor in staying."
Broncos v Warriors - Round 17
Lodge said the fact that fellow prop Payne Haas had committed long term to the club, with his good friend Tevita Pangai jnr expected to follow suit shortly, had also inspired him to stay.
"If we work hard and build a good culture here it will go a long way in the next few years," he said.
"I really want to play with some of the forwards that are at this club. I feel comfortable with these boys. I look across in the front-row and see Payne, and he is a very good player to have in tight positions with me.
"Me and him are both committed long term here so now we just have to put our head down and do the hard work."
I can only thank the Broncs and the NRL for ... giving me the chance to turn things aroundBrisbane prop Matt Lodge
Boyd said Lodge's re-signing was a "huge" boost for the club and predicted more accolades around the corner for him.
"All the forwards and the whole team respect him," Boyd said.
"We have a young squad and we need some of the young guys to step up and lead and he has already been doing that. I definitely think he could be a future captain."
Lodge said the Baby Broncos 24-22 win over the Sharks had provided a huge boost ahead of the clash with the Warriors at Suncorp Stadium on Saturday night. The Broncos are just two points outside the top eight and have six of their remaining nine games at home.
"I think it will give a few of those players confidence ... but most importantly it puts people who have been here longer on notice that no matter how good you are there is always a really good kid coming through just waiting to take your jersey," he said.