Claims of racist abuse levelled at high-profile club owner

A club has to create many long-lasting relationships within their system in order for it to work as one.

So, if an issue arises, it needs to be nipped in the bun.

For Mark Robinson, the owner of the New Zealand Warriors, that issue has been just why prop Matt Lodge has left the club.

Robinson has revealed that a heated hotel confrontation with Lodge was why Lodge departed in shock circumstances halfway through the 2022 season.

In an exclusive interview with News Corp, multi-millionaire businessman Mark Robinson says he and Lodge exchanged heated words the Belvedere Hotel in Woody Point, near Redcliffe, late last year, with Robinson claiming Lodge never got over it.

News Corp revealed on Wednesday that Lodge had been given a bizarre $700,000 golden handshake – a figure which left eyes watering.

“What we agreed on is very favourable for Matt and his family,” Warriors chief executive Cameron George said.

We had an argument in a hotel, two alpha males in a pub last December,” Robinson said.

“There was no push and shove or yelling and screaming.

“Two days later we shook hands and moved on but it never came right.

“Plus, he didn’t want to come back to New Zealand next year.

“He was unhappy so I bought him out of his option for next year and we parted ways.

“He didn’t like the club and he obviously didn’t like playing for Mark Robinson.

“I got over it, but I can’t answer for Matt Lodge.

“The argument was man on man. Then on (the following) Monday morning – when I didn’t think there was anything wrong — he came in and spoke to Cameron (George, Warriors CEO) about it. I thought he’d moved forward (but he hadn’t).”

Asked what the argument was about, Robinson said: “Just two men about attitude and whatever. It’s seven months ago. I’ve never spoken to anyone about what it was about and I won’t.”

News Corp asked Robinson about claims that he had allegedly made racist comments to Lodge during their argument.

“People can call me whatever they want but I’m not a racist person,” he said.

“I will stand tall on that. It could not be further from the truth.

“I have a Samoan grandson and a Samoan son-in-law.

“Do you really think I’d talk about my people like that?

“These suggestions are what affect me more than anything. It really annoys me.

“I’m really upset about it. I haven’t slept all night. You don’t know what it’s doing to me. That people would even think that. You’ve got no idea.”

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