Wests Tigers are pleased to confirm the signing of junior representative forward Matthew Lodge following an immediate release by the Melbourne Storm.

Lodge will join Wests Tigers for the remainder of the 2014 season.

The powerful teenager played his junior football at St. Patricks Blacktown before joining the Penrith Panthers and then the Melbourne Storm. He earned selection in the 2013 NYC Team of the Year, and was named in the Storm’s first-grade squad for the 2014 season before being granted a release from his contract.

Lodge recently represented New South Wales in Under-20’s State of Origin and has also represented NSW at under-16s and under-18s level.

Wests Tigers Head Coach Mick Potter said that he was looking forward to having the powerful forward join the Club and seeing the 19-year-old continue his development into a first-grade footballer.

“We’re really pleased to have Matthew join us this year,” said Potter. “He’s been developing really well as a player over the last few years and will be a good addition to our Club.

“We’ve got some great front row forwards at the Club such as Aaron Woods, Martin Taupau and Keith Galloway, as well as some promising players coming through in Dallas Graham, and having Matthew join us will only strengthen that,” he said. “He’s got plenty of potential as a footballer and we’re excited to work with him.”

Lodge said he’s keen to get onto the field with Wests Tigers in the coming weeks.

“I’m looking forward to playing with Wests Tigers and being at the same Club as my Australian Schoolboy team mates Luke Brooks and Mitchell Moses,” said Lodge. “Moving to Wests Tigers also gives me the opportunity to move back home with my parents and spend more time with my family.”