MATT Lodge has edged closer to an NRL return after being given permission to train with the Brisbane Broncos.
Lodge will begin training with the Broncos next week as part of an affiliate club arrangement with the Redcliffe Dolphins, who he has been playing for in the Intrust Super Cup.
The NRL approved Lodge’s application to train with the Broncos on Monday, however he has not been cleared to play in the NRL this season.
Lodge, 21, signed with the Dolphins this season to begin his path back to the NRL.
The former Wests Tigers prop was arrested in New York in 2015 following an incident which he later avoided jail-time for.
The Tigers sacked Lodge following the incident and he spent the entire 2016 season out of the game before being thrown a career lifeline by the Dolphins.
The Broncos are hoping to sign Lodge once the NRL clears him to return to the competition, however that may not be this season.
“Redcliffe had sought permission for Matt to undergo extra training with the Broncos under our affiliate arrangement and we have now been advised by the NRL that it has been given,” Broncos CEO Paul White said.
“Matt will continue to play in the Intrust Super Cup with the Redcliffe Dolphins but will also undertake some training session with the Broncos.
“While this is good news for Matt, our club understands that this is not a determination of NRL registration, which is a matter for the NRL.
“In other words, while this does confirm permission for Matt to train with the Broncos, it does not constitute permission to play.
“Our club fully understands and supports the welfare program Matt has been on with Redcliffe, and we will continue to support that.”