NRL knew player assaulted a woman
THE NRL was aware that Brisbane Broncos footballer Matthew Lodge pleaded guilty to assaulting a woman before they gave him the green light to play this season.
Lodge slapped then-girlfriend Charlene Saliba in an incident at his house in August 2015, The Sunday Telegraph can reveal.
Court documents detail the incident in the front of Lodge’s Marayong house where the 118kg footballer “lightly slapped” Saliba.
Lodge was arrested at his home at 8pm.
He was cautioned and Lodge said: “I never hit her, I only grabbed her.” Lodge was taken to Blacktown Police station where he declined to take part in an electronically recorded interview.
A charge of common assault was laid against the then Wests Tigers footballer. The footballer was subsequently sacked by the Tigers club.
The matter was prosecuted in Parramatta Local Court and Lodge was initially found guilty with a conviction.
Lodge appealed to the district court and was found guilty without conviction. He was placed on a two-year good behaviour bond.
An NRL spokesman said the code was aware of the domestic violence issue and had taken that into account when registering Lodge.
After appearing in court for assaulting Ms Saliba in September 2015, the next month Lodge wreaked terror in New York, stalking a German woman and violently terrorising a family, which included a nine-year old boy.
This week the family detailed how their son Henry was still “heavily traumatised” by Lodge’s actions.
A US civil court ordered Lodge to pay $1.6 million in damages. Lodge has not paid a cent and has “stunned” and “infuriated” his victims.
“It’s pretty heartbreaking to think that this man might become a role model for Australian children given what he did to us,” Ruth Fowler, Henry’s mother, said.
NRL chief executive Todd Greenberg and chief operating officer Nick Weeks met with Lodge last year and were satisfied he met the code’s fit and proper person requirement.