Brisbane great Gorden Tallis has warned fans will hand back their memberships if Matt Lodge is appointed Broncos captain.
Debate is raging over Lodge after reports claimed the once-troubled prop has emerged as favourite to take over as skipper from Darius Boyd following the club’s embarrassing NRL finals exit.
The idea has also been slammed this week by Glenn Lazarus, Paul Gallen and Billy Slater but Lodge has received support from Broncos legends Wally Lewis and Darren Lockyer.
Club director and former skipper Lockyer even claimed the Broncos could survive the inevitable fallout if they anointed the controversial forward.
But Tallis disagreed, warning that the Broncos would be in serious trouble if Lodge got the nod.
Tallis conceded Lodge had changed his ways since his infamous 2015 New York rampage suggested Brisbane fans had still not forgiven the 24-year-old.
“From all reports he’s turned it around and he’s working hard, and everybody deserves a second chance in life,” Tallis told Fox League’s NRL 360.
“But the word around the street in Brisbane is people will hand back their memberships (if he’s named captain).
“At that club, every captain has represented their country, they’ve held themselves a certain way on and off the field.
“If he (Lodge) is the leader of our club, the club is in trouble.”
Former West Tiger Lodge has turned his life around since the New York assault after being handed a lifeline by the Broncos last year.
But former Brisbane playmaker Ben Ikin said the forward would never be able to move on from the US controversy if handed the captaincy.
“We know what will happen if he’s named captain,” he said.
“This story will keep getting brought up over and over and over.
“I think if the Broncos care for this young man as much as they claim, then perhaps they need to not give him the job, to save him from that kind of pressure, scrutiny, expectation.”
Speculation still won’t go away that coach Anthony Seibold will recommend to the Broncos board that Lodge take over the reins either as outright captain or sharing the role with rookie forward Pat Carrigan.
Despite playing just 19 games in his debut 2019 season, Carrigan is believed to be in the running for a senior role next year either as part of a new-look leadership group or as a co-captain with Lodge.