Lodge targets Roosters hitman
MATT Lodge is on track for an explosive duel with Origin star Dylan Napa as the Broncos confront the Roosters firebrand for the first time since he shattered Korbin Sims' jaw.
Sparks are set to fly at Allianz Stadium on Saturday night when the fired-up Broncos clash with Sydney in a match which could have serious finals implications.
The seventh-placed Broncos are chasing a home final and on a high after disposing of the Rabbitohs in a 38-18 thrashing at Suncorp Stadium last Thursday.
At the heart of the Roosters is Napa, the flame-haired Queensland Origin prop who is public enemy No. 1 at the Broncos following the controversial Round 11 clash between the NRL heavyweights.
Sims was left with a broken jaw following an awkward tackle by Napa which escaped suspension and was slammed by Broncos coach Wayne Bennett.
Broncos players were seething after the Roosters appeared to celebrate the head-clash and have not forgotten the incident which sidelined Sims for a month.
Lodge will come face-to-face with Napa in what is shaping up to be an explosive forwards battle and said he wouldn't back down.
"That's all he does, puts shots on and makes tackles," Lodge said.
"I might wear a few but hopefully if he runs the ball I can get a few back.
"I love (confrontation), that's what it's about.
"It's a heavy shoulder to run into. I might cop a few of them.
"I'm happy to cop a few as long as I can get a few back on him when he runs it."
The Roosters were presenting a solid case to be premiership favourites before losing to Canberra on Sunday.
That result could kick Sydney into gear, but the Broncos are fancying themselves after disposing of the third-placed Rabbitohs last week.
Lodge, 23, has overcome a controversial start to his career at the Broncos to play all 22 games of the season and his showdown with Napa could set the tone for Brisbane.
"I don't think it's a get-square or anything personal, that happens in contact footy," he said.
"I don't not like him. I know some people thought the contact was hard, but he puts his body on the line and it might go wrong for him one day, that's the risk he's running.
"I do enjoy the battles. I was sitting out for a few years watching them and wondering if I could match it with them.
"All of a sudden I'm playing with them and I have to match them so I enjoy it."