SYDNEY – The National Rugby League has ordered Brisbane Broncos player Matt Lodge to begin paying back the victims of his New York City assault or risk having his contract terminated.
Lodge forced himself into a Manhattan apartment in October 2015 and assaulted a man while his wife and 9-year-old child hid. He said in a television interview two weeks ago that he was on sleeping pills and had drunk alcohol at the time, and he apologized to the victims.
But Lodge still owes more than $1 million in damages in the case, for which he pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor reckless assault charge.
He avoided a 12-month jail term in the U.S. with the plea deal to compensate the victims, Ruth Fowler and Joseph Cartright. But Fowler and Cartright say they have not received any of the money.
On Thursday, NRL chief executive Todd Greenberg said Lodge, who is on a minimum NRL wage of 100,000 Australian dollars ($77,400) a year, had been told his approval to continue playing in the league was contingent on him repaying his victims.
"We're in dialogue with his agent and with his club and there is a strong desire to come up with a payment plan," Greenberg said.