Broncos coach Kevin Walters is confident a contract dispute with prop Payne Haas can be resolved and doesn't believe the constant booing by fans on Friday night will have an impact on the distraught star's future at the club.
Haas messaged team-mates after Brisbane officials rejected his request for an immediate release to assure them he was fully committed for the clash with the Titans, but fans weren't so forgiving and booed him every time he touched the ball.
The NSW Origin forward admitted after the 35-24 win that he had been rattled by the reception he received and Broncos captain Adam Reynolds later appeared to be consoling him in the dressing rooms.
Haas was booed every time he touched the ball in Brisbane’s stunning 35-24 comeback win at Suncorp Stadium on Friday night, less than 24 hours after the bombshell dropped that the star prop had asked Brisbane for an immediate release.
No boo was louder than when he was introduced to the crowd on the big screen pre-match as he went on to run for 126 metres, make 26 tackles and produce five tackle breaks as Brisbane scored five tries in 21 minutes in the second half to surge past the Titans.
Haas speaks after the game
Walters predicted the fans would again support Haas once his contractual issues are resolved and he said the club intended to continue negotiations.
“I’m really confident we can sit down with Payne’s management and sort something out,” Walters said. “We’re not going to release him. He’s been a big part of our club for a few years now and will be a big part, I believe, into the future.
"He has been a wonderful player for us and he is the best prop in the game so we don’t want to lose the best prop in the game.
"It has happened in the last 24-48 hours so we will sit down with Payne and his management and have a good discussion.
"We want to sit down with his management team and sort something out. That is what we will have to get to in the next couple of weeks.
“He showed his commitment tonight to playing for this club and whilst he has got a Broncos jersey on he will continue to do that."
Walters: We're not going to release him
Stand-in captain Kurt Capewell revealed that Haas had messaged his teammates ahead of the Suncorp Stadium clash.
"We weren’t too worried about it at all. We obviously knew it was happening. Payne wrote us a message and said 'boys, I am fully committed to you guys, let’s go and get the win this week', and we done that.
“He is just fully committed to the game. Did you see his efforts tonight? You tell me if he is committed."
Walters said the shock news may have contributed to the Gold Coast flying to a 24-4 lead by halftime but Brisbane discovered their “energy and commitment” to record their sixth-straight win and their eighth of the season while the Titans fell to their seven loss from their past eight games.
Match Highlights: Broncos v Titans
“The players are pretty resilient these days. They understand it is a business in rugby league," he said.
“For mine I was just making sure that we stuck together and all of these distractions that happened this week didn’t effect what was happening on the field.
"In the first half it may have but in the second half they got their heads on and away they went.
"All I have tried to do is support Payne. I don’t think it will drag on. I don’t believe that, but I am just going to stay in my lane and keep coaching Payne Haas and I leave our guys in that space look after that."
A junior representative standout, Haas made his first-grade debut for the Broncos in 2018 before going on to enjoy a breakout season the following year — claiming the Dally M Rookie and Prop of the Year Awards while also making his representative debuts for New South Wales, the Prime Minister's XIII and Australia.
Haas is currently contracted with Brisbane through to the end of the 2024 season after re-signing with the club in 2018 on a six-year deal.
The Broncos released a statement on Thursday about the future of Haas, indicating he won't be going anywhere in the short-term and the club had plans to keep him at the Broncos beyond the 2024 season.
"Payne Haas is contracted to the Brisbane Broncos until the end of the 2024 NRL Season. The club will not be entertaining a release," the statement read.
"The club remains in ongoing discussions with Payne’s management about what the next phase looks like for him at the Broncos. That includes ongoing dialogue about an extension to his current contract."