Four inquiries were launched about the next move in his widely covered contract dilemma, and on each occasion, Payne Haas, star player of the Broncos, stuck to his equivalent response. “We’re still in dialogue with the Broncs at the moment, and that’s all I want to say”.
There’s rampant speculation about where the headline prop will land post his 2024 contract, yet the player himself has chosen to steer away from in-depth discussions around the issue. The tremendous impact player from the State of Origin has dropped subtle hints suggesting that his decision will be substantially influenced by his family based in south-east Queensland.
However, it goes without saying that the competition for his signature will be as broad as the NRL itself. Haas and his team have unequivocally stated their intentions to explore the open market starting November 1. Craig Bellamy, coach of rivals Melbourne Storm, has openly stated that his side will throw their hats in the ring for his services.
In the build-up to his 100th NRL game against Parramatta on Friday night, Haas revealed a near-miss scenario of starting his NRL journey under coach Bellamy. It was a last-minute ring from then-Brisbane coach Wayne Bennett that saw him continue his journey in Queensland. Interestingly, despite his coach Kevin Walters publicly stating that Haas would extend his stay “within the next couple of weeks”, the player kept his cards close to his chest on Tuesday.
That being said, Haas elaborated on his immense gratitude towards the Broncos for their backing both as a player and in his off-field predicaments, as well as their support during his mother’s earlier incarceration this year.
Haas stated, “Obviously I owe them a lot and they’ve helped me a lot with all the off-field stuff, and I’m just really appreciative of them and for what they’ve done for me. We’re still in dialogue with the Broncs at the moment, we’ve got a good relationship there with Kev and the Broncs here, so we both know where we’re at. We understand each other and what we want. I’m not going to say too much more than that. I think [the deciding factor] is going to be more my family, but like I said, I’ll focus on this week and let them talk that out.”
At just 23, the lad is poised to become the next million-dollar man in rugby league. Reports suggest factors like the team’s championship credentials and post-career opportunities as the major influences in his decision-making, keeping the Broncos as a strong contender in the signature race.
Veteran Bronco player Kurt Capewell, while tagging his teammate as the best prop in the game, is convinced that the club would position itself as one of the frontrunners for Haas. Capewell mentioned, “I don’t want to be tackling him, that’s for sure. I’d love to see him stay, he’s done great things for this club when they were going through a tough time and they’ve also stood by him through his tough times. I think he loves the club, he loves the supporters, he loves his teammates and hopefully we can get the job done and keep him here. I think he’s a terrific suit for the Broncos. One thing about Payno is he never lets anyone down, so even with it all going on in the background he’s one of our best, if not our best, every weekend.”