The previous year, Lodge landed in trouble for scribbling the word ”c…” on his wrist while representing the Blues in an under-20s Origin game.
The blond with sky blue eyes has worked hard, given up the booze and says the chance to play on league’s big stage would be a dream come true.
He also has the full support of Broncos coach Anthony Seibold, who has changed his role.
“I’m not sad I’m not out there for game one – there are some good players who earned that right,” Lodge told The Sun-Herald about his original Origin omission at Red Hill during the week.
“You never know, down the track I might get a run.
“I haven’t spoken to ‘Freddy’ [Fittler] about Origin, apart from the camp at the start of the year.
“Hopefully it comes one day. It’s always been a dream of mine.
“I just have to keep working on a few things. I’m just happy to be back playing footy.”
I had to put my hand up and play simpler than I wanted to.
A gifted athlete with a big engine and solid passing game, Lodge was told by new Broncos coach Seibold to do more of the grunt work, especially after the departure of Josh McGuire.
“He wanted a more selfless game from me, doing the harder stuff that needed doing,” Lodge said.
“I had to put my hand up and play simpler than I wanted to, not pass and offload and worry more about getting the team in to the grind.
“Seibs is big on kick pressure and plays one and two carries, trying to get the ruck speed and quick play-the-balls.”
Lodge is in the Blues mix alongside North Queensland’s Jordan McLean, Penrith pair James Tamou and Reagan Campbell-Gillard, as well as Cronulla’s Matt Prior, who made his debut last year.
As for his future, Lodge said while he loves Sydney, it would be hard to walk out on the club which gave him a lifeline after his US scandal left many wondering why he was even allowed to return to the game.
Parramatta are keen but have since renewed their interest in Souths’ George Burgess.
“Maybe I’m a little out of my comfort zone up here, but that’s what you have to do. If any of my mates had to move to the mines or overseas to work, they’d do it, and that’s what I’m doing,” Lodge said.
“I’m making sacrifices and setting myself and my family up.
“After footy I’ll definitely move back to the [western Sydney] area. I’ll probably get some property or land around Rouse Hill.
“Brisbane have been good to me. They’re a good club. They gave me a lifeline, they’ve done a lot for me, there are good people from the top down. I’ve been to other clubs before, but I’ve really enjoyed my time here over them.”
Christian covers rugby league for The Sydney Morning Herald.