Former Warriors prop Matt Lodge has addressed his messy exit from the club, saying "there was no argument" between himself and club owner Mark Robinson leading to his departure.
Lodge was abruptly released with immediate effect last week just a day before the club was due to take on the St George Illawarra Dragons. It was later revealed he had also received a costly payout - reported to be around $700,000 - upon leaving the club.
The Warriors front office addressed the issue yesterday, and said the falling out between the two parties had stemmed from an argument between Lodge and Robinson in a pub late last year.
However, in an interview with the Courier Mail, Lodge disputed that story and recalled that he said nothing in response to Robinson on the night.
"I really can't control what is said by others as it [Robinson's attack] happened in front of people at a club team function," Lodge said.
"There was no argument. I said nothing back. I left the venue and ended up driving home.
"There was nothing 'alpha' about me there that night. I've learnt over time that gets you nowhere. I offered to meet the next day when Mark was sober for a man-to-man conversation. It's how I would rather it was settled but he never got around to sitting down with me."
As for what was said, Lodge would not disclose the specifics of the discussion.
"Despite what some may think I have morals and values and I don't get any joy whatsoever in making someone else's life tough," he told the Courier Mail.
"Although we never got the chance to know each other that well, I respect what Mark does. He is a businessman who has decided to put his hand in his own pocket and fund a rugby league club that no doubt costs him a lot of money.
"That in itself is passion for the game. The game I love. And even if people don't agree with everything, almost everyone should respect him for doing that for the Warriors.
"He would be sacrificing a lot of his own hard-earned money. He has stuck by them and kept all his staff employed even during this Covid period. He kept the club alive in a difficult period."
Lodge, 26, was in the final year of his contract with the club, though had a player option for the 2023 season. He was offered an extension early in 2022 and considered it before turning it down.
"I was invested in the group of boys, and I was keen to go to New Zealand. I really enjoyed my time with the lads."