Haas to use NRL ban to consider behaviour

Ed Jackson
·3-min read

Brisbane forward Payne Haas has vowed to use a three-game NRL ban for his confrontation with NSW police last month as a chance to reflect on his off-field behaviour.

Haas was on Monday slapped with the suspension, as well as a $50,000 fine, in what is his second ban following an NRL integrity unit investigation in the past three seasons.

The 21-year-old was previously given a four-game ban ahead of the 2019 season as well as a $20,000 fine for failing to comply with an investigation over a matter involving members of his family.

Despite the NSW and Australian representative being one of the most important players at the Broncos, Haas admits his latest indiscretion was unacceptable and he needs to avoid further off-field drama.

"I must use the time out of the game now to reflect on my behaviour," Haas told reporters on Monday.

"I'll learn from this mistake. I'll work hard to be a better person in the future.

"I need to win back the trust and respect of my teammates as well as our club members and sponsors.

"I know it's a privilege to play in the NRL and I won't take for granted the opportunity I've been given in rugby league."

Haas was arrested and charged after an abusive rant at two police officers on the night of January 16 in the northern NSW town.

He avoided a conviction and was placed on a two-year good behaviour bond last week after pleading guilty in the Tweed Heads Local Court to charges of intimidating police and offensive language.

The $50,000 fine is highest financial penalty the NRL can impose on a player and chief executive Andrew Abdo said it highlighted the competition's dissatisfaction with Haas's behaviour.

"Payne's conduct was unacceptable," Abdo said.

"There are no excuses for any form of abuse towards our police force.

"Any player who intimidates police will be dealt with severely."

As well as his fine and suspension, Haas will have to complete an appropriate education program and community service as directed by the NRL.

The suspension means Haas will miss Brisbane's season opener against Parramatta on March 12 as well as matches against Gold Coast and Canterbury.

Broncos coach Kevin Walters said both player and club accepted the NRL's sanctions and the fact he'll have to begin his tenure without one of his key players was irrelevant.

"My main concern is Payne's welfare," Walters said.

"I fully support the NRL and their stance against bad behaviour, let's make that very clear.

"From Payne's point of view, he's owned his mistake. He knows he's made an error so now it's about getting around Payne, supporting him, supporting the NRL and their stance against bad behaviour and we just get on with things.

"That's what we'll do here. We'll just move on after today and we'll get ourselves ready to start playing footy."