Craig Bellamy responds amid $1 million Payne Haas development at Melbourne Storm

The Brisbane Broncos forward has been linked to several NRL clubs, with Craig Bellamy making no bones about the Storm's intentions.

Payne Haas and Craig Bellamy.
Payne Haas has informed the Broncos he will be hearing offers from NRL rivals at the end of the year, with Craig Bellamy throwing the Storm's hat into the ring. Pictures: Getty Images

The Melbourne Storm are reportedly set to launch a lucrative bid to secure Brisbane Broncos forward Payne Haas when the 23-year-old is free to speak to rival clubs later this year. Haas is signed with Brisbane through to the end of the 2024 season, but is free to negotiate with rivals from November 1.

Storm coach Craig Bellamy has made no secret of the club's desire to recruit Haas, as they look to replace the departed premiership trio of Felise Kaufusi and Jesse and Kenny Bromwich. However the veteran coach has admitted the salary cap could be an impediment, with Haas expected to fetch as much as $1 million on a new deal.

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Haas has already informed the Broncos he plans to hear out offers from rival clubs when he is free to do so later this year, and has already been linked to the Bulldogs, Tigers and Dragons. In the Storm's favour however is Haas' stated desire to be part of a premiership contended.

He memorably signed with the Broncos back in 2018 when still a teenager after getting a call from then head coach Wayne Bennett, spurning the Storm who he was set to meet with. Bellamy confirmed on Thirsday that the Storm were indeed keen to meet with Haas, but admitted they could be priced out of the market with the likes of Ryan Papenhuyzen, Cameron Munster, Jahrome Hughes and Harry Grant already on the books.

“We’ll certainly put our hands up,” Bellamy said. “To be honest, I don’t know if we would be able to afford him.

"I imagine he is a guy in high demand. But if that’s the case (Haas testing the open market) and he is a free agent, we would certainly have a conversation. Then we would have to see what we could do, but I imagine every club in the competition would like to get him.”

Payne Haas urged to add more to game to justify $1m price tag

Haas has emerged as one of the NRL's premier defensive forwards since his NRL debut in 2018. With 99 NRL games under his belt alongside two Tests for the Kangaroos and 11 State of Origin appearances for NSW, Haas has built an impressive resume in his first five years.

He would be a supremely valuable addition to the Storm, who despite sitting fourth on the ladder have somewhat struggled to fill the vacancies left by the Bromwich brothers and Kaufusi, who departed for the Dolphins. The Storm also lost Brandon Smith to the Sydney Roosters ahead of the 2023 season.

Haas' tackle efficiency of 98 per cent on 28 tackles per game is a standout in the NRL, with the 23-year-old also averaging 187 metres gained. However NRL great Gorden Tallis believes Haas needs to add more to his game to justify the potentially massive price tag.

Payne Haas runs the ball against the Dolphins.
Payne Haas has assembled an impressive NRL resume since his 2018 debut, and has stated a desire to be in premiership contention. (Photo by Bradley Kanaris/Getty Images)

“A $1 million player has to change the result of the game in my opinion,” Tallis told NRL 360. “Someone like Glenn Lazarus (legendary Broncos prop) changed the result, but the best season Payne Haas had, the Broncos got the wooden spoon (in 2020) and he was outstanding.

“How many metres do you want to make? Payne has to add an offload, a pass before the line and a pass after the line and then in contact, when he has three guys on him, an offload would be so valuable for him.

“I think he is still learning his craft. Maybe if he goes to another club, he might learn that. I haven’t actually seen Payne really whack someone. “Those Penrith forwards (led by James Fisher-Harris) beat Parramatta up last year in the first 20 minutes (of the grand final).

“I don’t think I can watch a game where I see Payne beat a guy up yet. For me, you have to change the result to get $1 million.”

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