New South Wales Blues coach Brad Fittler’s tough stance on not picking players involved in the controversy could cost gun prop Paine Husk his place for the State of Origin opener.
Fitler’s preparations for the June 8 clashes were shaken when it was revealed that Haas had asked the Broncos for immediate release on Wednesday due to a pay dispute.
Haas has a contract with the Broncos for about 800 800,000 a year until the end of 2024, but his management is pushing for a significant salary increase.
Brisbane have declined the request and will play for the Broncos in their clash with the Titans at Suncorp Stadium on Friday, but it is uncertain whether he will be included in the Blues squad when it is announced on Sunday night.
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Danny Weidler, an NRL reporter for Nine, explains how Haske could be leaked for his original place.
“He’s going to be a focal point in Brad Fitler’s team, but Fitler has always maintained that he doesn’t want any outside confusion in his NSW Blues team and that’s a huge outside confusion,” Weidler said.
When James Brassey asked Fitler on 9 News if the story “put” Has’s position in the squad “in danger,” the NSW coach did his best to dance around the question, but dropped a hint on his thinking.
“It’s not ideal at all, and I know from Penn’s point of view and from Brisbane’s point of view … I’m sure they want to clear up all this and move on with it,” Fitler said.
“They’re having a great season and they would hate to hijack it.”
Haas has become a key member of the Blues team since making his debut in a game in the 2019 series.
Until the news of his departure request was received, the 22-year-old Blues had an undoubted election in the front row.
Payne Haas bombed the Broncos
Reagan Campbell-Gillard, Jr. Paolo, Jack Trobozevic and Daniel Saifiti are all front-line candidates for Fitler, but Haas is considered a key figure in the Blues Forward Pack.
Brisbane captain Adam Reynolds says Haas will play the Broncos against the Titans with the right attitude.
“I talked to Penn and he assured us he would play tomorrow, and look, he’s a professional and I know he’ll do his job,” Reynolds Triple M said.
“But obviously this is not news that you want to hear about someone who is an important part of your team, and fingers crossed that things have been resolved and he has been coming to the Broncos for a very long time.
“Payne is a professional athlete and there is no doubt that he will be ready to play.”
Reynolds highlighted an issue with the long-term deal.
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“A lot of players sign long-term contracts. Take (Selwin) Kobo, for example, looking at a multi-year contract,” Reynolds said.
“The rise of these kids these days … they’ve been game superstars since the first grade at the age of 20 and they’ve broken their contract very quickly, so it’s hard to talk about it.
“Payne is a great player who has probably been signed at a much lower price than his price.
“It simply came to our notice then.
“The longest contract I signed was after the company won with South (in 2014), but I was well established then and basically the club knew what they were getting from me and what I could pay for them.
“These kids are coming in first grade … some have just played a few games and they’re signing five-year contracts and making potential payments, and they probably sometimes overdo it.
“Maybe they can’t stand it, but it’s hard because Rugby League is such a brutal game and you can’t play forever and obviously you want to make the most of your career.
“It’s a tough discussion NRL needs.”
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