Matt Lodge has kindly offered to coach fellow NRL player Jack de Belin in how to handle the boos and jeers from the crowd during his first few games back in first-grade.
Lodge was savagely booed every time he ran onto the field and touched the ball when he made his return to first-grade after a stint in prison, and expects de Belin to suffer the same treatment.
“It’s really tough being booed and screamed at every time you touch the ball,” said Lodge.
“It’ll happen to Jack and even though we’re on different teams, I told him that I’m here for him any time he wants to talk about it or needs support with his mental health and wellbeing, and help moving forward.”
Lodge will work on specific self-esteem and relaxation techniques, mindfulness exercises and one technique in particular which is sure to improve de Belin’s mood:
“Just look at your bank balance”
“I’ll also tell Jack that eventually everyone will just forget about it, and the next thing you know you’ll be playing Origin again. You’ll probably play for Australia soon, especially with all these players getting injured or suspended for head-high tackles.”
Lodge spent time in Rikers Island jail in The USA after being found guilty of threatening to kill a young woman in New York, forcing his way into her apartment, assaulting a man who tried to defend the woman and forcing his way into the man’s apartment, before smashing it up and threatening the man’s wife and young child who had locked themselves in their bathroom. Lodge had already being charged with domestic violence in Australia, and been served with an AVO. This is why he was, at the time, the most hated man in rugby league.
“Luckily, Jack will soon be the most hated man in rugby league, and they’ll forget about my crimes. I’ll make sure I’m there to help him through it.”