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NRL Advisor Claims Blindside On Lodge Return

The NRL's gender advisor claims she has been blindsided by the league's handling of Matt Lodge's return and wants to raise the matter with the code's leaders.

Catharine Lumby, who has worked with the NRL since 2004 on cultural change and player education, has raised serious concern's over Lodge's return to first grade in Brisbane.

Lodge's comeback for the Broncos on Thursday night threatens to overshadow the season-opener against St George Illawarra, after CCTV footage of his infamous 2015 New York rampage was released last week.

Lumby is not impressed.

"The NRL's handling of this case is one that I am concerned about," Lumby told the ABC's 7.30.

"I will be raising it with them.

"I would like more information and understanding of the rationale behind this because, to be quite frank, I was blindsided by it."

NRL officials, led by chief executive Todd Greenberg, have insisted Lodge has done his time and is ready to make a return to the league.

They also claim they knocked back an application for his contract last year, and that he has since fulfilled all of the requirements set out to him.

Lodge pleaded guilty to a reckless assault charge over the 2015 incident, where he told a female German tourist "this is the night you die", before following them into another family's apartment and assaulting the man who came to her rescue.

The footage released on Friday also showed him throwing a glass wine bottle at police officers as they entered the apartment, before he was eventually arrested at gunpoint.

He still owes $US1.2 million ($1.5m) in damages to the victims, after a plea deal ensured he would not spend time in a US jail.

Lodge has not been made available to a media pack since he signed with the Broncos late last year, and is yet to pay any of the damages.

It has since been revealed he sent an apology to the New York District Attorney to pass onto the victims in 2016, however they say they are yet to receive it.

"This would be among the most disturbing of cases I've ever reviewed," Lumby said.

"My major concern about Matthew Lodge is he has not made what I would consider a fulsome public statement of total contrition and shown a deep understanding of the impact on the people involved in this.

"But, also he's not publicly shown that he's got a plan to pay the compensation."

AAP

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