Emerging prop Matt Lodge has credited Brisbane Broncos members and supporters as a major factor in re-signing with the club for a further two years.
The 23-year-old will stay to at least the end of 2020 after a stellar comeback season in which he finished runner-up in the Paul Morgan Medal for Broncos' Player of the Year, just one vote behind winner Anthony Milford.
Lodge also won the best forward award after playing 25 games in 2018 and averaging 130 metres per game, as well as 23 tackles and 11 hit-ups, plus 55 tackle breaks across the season.
Earlier this year Lodge reached a confidential settlement with the victims of his drunken and violent rampage in New York in 2015.
Lodge was sentenced to community service and treatment for anger and alcohol abuse and a court ordered him to pay $1.6 million to the victims.
Lodge said he had taken out a loan to cover the compensation agreement.
Lodge said thanked fans last week for standing by him after what he described as a tough start to the season.
“Thank you (members and fans) for getting behind me – it was a massive part of why I made the decision to stay in Brisbane,” he said.
“We think we owe something to them and we're working hard to bring back what everyone wants.
“It's good to have some stability.
“I've made the decision to stay up in Brisbane and I'm happy with that decision and looking to put in some work with the group that we've got coming through to achieve what we all want.
“I'll always respect Wayne (Bennett) for giving me the chance to come back... but we're moving on now and we've got a new coach in Seibs (Anthony Seibold), training has changed and we've all on board with that and we're excited at what the future holds.”
Lodge, who has a big focus on working in the Broncos' community programs, said becoming a father last year to son Coby with partner Jess had given him added responsibility and perspective.
“It's awesome. He just turned one a few weeks ago and he's running amok but I love it,” Lodge said.
Brisbane Broncos chief executive Paul White said that Lodge continued to work on every aspect of his life on and off the field.
“He knows he has our full backing as he travels along that road,” White said.
“He has taken some big strides this year through his dedication and hard work.
“We applaud what he has achieved and we welcome what is to come in the years ahead.”