Pills made me a predator: Matt Lodge
DISGRACED Brisbane Broncos forward Matt Lodge has broken his silence to apologise to his American victims and opened up about his battle with prescription drugs.
On the eve of his return to the NRL, Lodge labelled his New York rampage "disgusting", saying a cocktail of alcohol and sleeping pills turned him into a predator he didn't recognise.
New York couple Ruth Fowler and Joseph Cartright have slammed the NRL for supporting Lodge, claiming he has shown no remorse, nor tried to pay a cent in a $1.6 million damages bill issued against him in a US civil lawsuit.
But in a candid interview with Fox Sports presenter Yvonne Sampson, to be screened on Wednesday night on the League Life program, Lodge expressed deep regret for the "brutal" attack on his victims.
The 22-year-old hit back at suggestions he never sought counselling and says while he can understand the firestorm of criticism, Lodge wants to win back the hearts of NRL fans.
Told the victims described him as "terrifying, aggressive, erratic and violent" on the night of his rampage in October 2015, Lodge responded with candour.
"I'd have to agree with them," he said.
"It's not the person I think I am, but looking at that it's clear that I'm off my head in that video (of him punching Cartright before being arrested at gunpoint by New York police).
"It's pretty embarrassing and upsetting watching it.
"I'd have to agree with them and I am sorry for it."
The Courier-Mail understands Lodge consumed eight sleeping pills with alcohol in the lead-up to his New York attack. During his night of shame, Lodge followed two women, telling one: "This is the night you die".
Lodge says he could not recall most of the night in question due to his abuse of prescription drugs, an addiction he says he has since addressed.
"I don't (have addiction issues) anymore but I was probably going down the path of abusing and being a bit reckless with substances, yeah," he said.
"I don't really remember the night and I can't comment on how it happened or why because I'm still trying to find that answer for myself.
"I don't remember that whole period which is the scary thing.
"I woke up the next morning handcuffed to a bed crying because I didn't know what had happened.
"From what the lawyers and court proceedings said, it was a pretty brutal night.
"Some of those facts I wouldn't agree with and didn't happen but it's still completely the wrong thing and pretty disgusting behaviour.
"The question gets asked - what if it happened to my family? I'd be filthy, of course I would be.
"If I could take it back I definitely would but that's impossible now.
"I am really sorry to them. It's not only affected their family, but everyone around me as well. It's embarrassing."
It was revealed last Sunday that Lodge pleaded guilty to assaulting his former girlfriend in August 2015 - just two months before his New York indiscretion.
The matter was prosecuted in Parramatta Local Court and Lodge was initially found guilty with a conviction.
Lodge appealed to the district court and was found guilty without conviction. He was placed on a two-year good behaviour bond.
"I own that whole part," he said.
"I don't support violence against women. I did the wrong thing. I'll punish myself for it. I'm definitely against it.
"I can admit I have never hit or assaulted any women.
"We took that (appeal) to the district court and it got overturned. I've got no criminal conviction or record of causing any harm to any female.
"That's something I want to be strong about - I didn't hit anyone."
Lodge insists he isn't running from his US victims and has undergone intense rehabilitation, including being alcohol-free for more than two years.
"I don't think I'm trying to escape it," he said.
"I couldn't be more sorry to them. They didn't deserve any of that behaviour. I'll do anything I can to make up for it.
"But since I got back, I really have turned things around.
"I've done outpatient programs and done counselling. It got mentioned that I hadn't done any counselling, but I did a year-and-a-half worth until I had to move away from Sydney and I couldn't see my regular counsellor that I built trust with.
"I still keep in contact with them. I'm on the right path now.
"I guess I understand people aren't going to support me, especially at the moment, but I've got a goal to do more right things than I've done wrong,
"Hopefully later down the track in my career people can maybe support me or see I have done some positives."
WATCH THE FULL INTERVIEW: Fox League Channel 502 Wednesday 6.30PM (QLD TIME), 7.30pm (NSW TIME)