Payne Haas at centre of staggering $4.8 million rugby development

The rugby deal for Payne Haas would reportedly blow Brisbane's offer out of the water.

Seen here, Payne Haas in action for Brisbane in the NRL.

The Brisbane Broncos appear to have a fight on their hands to keep Payne Haas, with Rugby Australia (RA) reportedly eyeing a monster deal for the NRL superstar that would “blow the Broncos away”. The 15-a-side rival code has already poached Roosters star Joseph Suaalii on a $1.6 million per season deal from 2025 onwards, with Haas among the next big-name NRL stars linked to rugby.

News Corp reports RA boss Hamish McLennan has already contacted Haas' representatives to gauge the 23-year-old's interest in a big-money move. Fox League reporter James Hooper says RA's whopping offer for Brisbane's three-time best-and-fairest winner is for around $1.6 million per-year for three years.

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The Broncos are in the process of negotiating a contract extension with Haas that would represent the richest deal in the club's history, but even their offer would be unlikely to come anywhere near the figure that RA can offer. RA's $4.8 million, three-year deal would reportedly involve Haas jumping ship at the conclusion of the 2024 NRL season, ahead of the Wallabies' series against the British and Irish Lions in 2025 and a home Rugby World Cup in Australia in 2027.

“There is a lot of debate about (NRL) players coming to us and we can offer an experience that rugby league can’t. We are a world game,” Rugby Australia CEO Hamish McLennan told The Courier Mail. “At rugby, we’ve hidden our light under a bushel for too long against an aggressive competitor (the NRL).

“Signing (Wallabies coach) Eddie Jones is a real move. Signing Joseph Suaalii is a real move. The Lions in 2025 is a real tour and convincing the Australian Government to host the Rugby World Cup in 2027, the third biggest sporting event in the world, is real. We’ve done all of this in just over two-and-a-half years, so we’re just getting started."

Broncos coach Kevin Walters said last week he had "zero" concern around Haas' future with the club, amid the ongoing reports about RA's interest in their star. Haas' contract with the Broncos runs out at the end of 2024, and the club is locked in talked to offer the forward a considerable upgrade on his $850,000 per season deal.

Pictured left to right, Brisbane coach Kevin Walters and star forward Payne Haas.
Brisbane coach Kevin Walters sees no reason why Payne Haas would want to leave the NRL club despite Rugby Australia's interest. Pic: Getty

Brisbane Broncos working on Payne Haas extension

The Broncos have already locked up Maroons star Patrick Carrigan, as well as young guns Jesse Arthars, Deine Mariner and coach Kevin Walters, in a promising development for the future of the club. Haas is the next priority for the Red Hill-based club and Broncos board member Darren Lockyer said the club was doing everything in its power to keep the powerhouse prop.

"Payne's been here when there has been some tough times," Walters said. "We're into some greener pastures at the moment and Payne is a big part of that.

"We look forward to him maintaining that, he's enjoying his footy, loving living in 'Brizzy'. We just need him to stay here, we want him to stay.

"It's about keeping Payne happy and making sure he's learning here and developing as a footballer, which I believe he is. It's up to Payne's management and our staff to sort a deal out. We've got zero real reason to think Payne wouldn't want to be here in a few years."

Walters says while he can't foresee any issues in keeping the 23-year-old at Red Hill, he did concede that the deal might not be completed for another few weeks. "I'm very confident that will happen, it might take a few weeks but I'm sure that Payne wants to stay and we certainly want to keep him," Walters added.

A new deal for Haas at Brisbane would represent a significant shift for a player booed by his own fans at last year when he requested a release from the club. The Broncos struggled at the start of 202 but Haas ultimately backflipped on his wish to leave the club and has been integral to their ladder-leading form in 2023.

with AAP

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