- Oops!Something went wrong.Please try again later.
Never trust a Queenslander at Origin time.
Interviewing Payne Haas after the controversial Brisbane prop had been booed by the Suncorp Stadium crowd throughout the Broncos' win over Gold Coast, Maroons great Darren Lockyer assured the big man the stick would not go on forever.
"That'll die down, that'll die down," Lockyer said of the booing.
'COACHED HIS LAST GAME': Damning new fallout in Michael Maguire saga
ORIGIN SHOCK: Brad Fittler's big call on NSW centres for Origin Game I
Who's he kidding?
Haas hasn't seen half of what is coming his way if his contract wrangles with Brisbane are not sorted very soon.
Haas will enjoy a relatively easy ride from fans in the Origin series opener in Sydney.
Half the crowd will love him and the other half hate him in "neutral" Perth for game two.
But it's game three in Brisbane – a potential series decider – where it will be open season on Haas if he has not smoked the peace pipe with the Broncos.
Queenslanders can hate like no other when it comes to Origin and Haas will have an entire state on his back throughout the journey.
Is he mentally tough enough to get through three matches of intense Origin football and the scrutiny that comes with it?
"I'm usually not one to get rattled, but when I heard the boos coming out tonight (and) when I got onto the ball it rattled me a bit," Haas said on Friday night.
"But I had to compose myself and just stay in the game and do my job for the team."
Payne Haas contract saga set to dominate
Every interview conducted by Haas over the next six weeks will reference his contract situation.
There will be no escape until it's resolved. It will be relentless.
The Blues are congregating in Sydney tonight ahead of State of Origin 2022.
Despite his origin selection, it's been a week which Payne Haas concedes has got the better of him. @Danny_Weidler #9News pic.twitter.com/5VxmIFQK1D
— 9News Queensland (@9NewsQueensland) May 29, 2022
It's exactly this sort of unwanted attention NSW coach Brad Fittler was on about when he declared he didn’t want players with contract distractions anywhere near his camp.
But as a talkback caller simply known as Reptile succinctly put it on Sydney radio: "No-one put a gun to Freddy's head to say that, but when it came to the world's best front-rower he folded like a piece or origami."
Fittler admitted the Haas-Brisbane stand-off was "not ideal at all" but has somehow put it in a different category to other contract disputes.
The Blues boss sought assurances from Haas, his management and the Broncos hierarchy that their differences were being worked through before selecting the prop.
Is it hypocritical?
One rule for some, another rule for others?
Fittler won’t care what you call it if big Payne helps deliver another series win.
Click here to sign up to our newsletter for all the latest and breaking stories from Australia and around the world.