Broncos bombshell: Young prodigy suspended
THE NRL's next superstar Payne Haas has been fined $10,000 and stood down by the Broncos for refusing to co-operate with an NRL integrity unit investigation in the latest black eye for rugby league.
The Courier-Mail can reveal Haas will miss the start of the NRL premiership after being slapped with a club-imposed Broncos ban following his role in two off-field incidents that involve family members.
It is understood the NRL integrity unit has rubber-stamped the Broncos' shock suspension.
Haas will miss between two to four NRL premiership games, including Brisbane's season-opener against Melbourne on March 14 and their Round 2 derby with the Cowboys on March 22.
The decision by Broncos hierarchy has rocked their pre-season under new coach Anthony Seibold and continues the NRL's summer of shame in the wake of off-field dramas involving Ben Barba, Dylan Napa and Jack de Belin.
Haas, who made his comeback from shoulder surgery in a trial at Warwick last Saturday night, was on Tuesday named for Brisbane's second pre-season hitout against Wynnum Manly this Saturday.
But the 19-year-old's immediate future is now under a cloud with Haas in danger of being stood down from the trial at Kougari Oval.
The one certainty is he will not start the premiership, with Broncos chief executive Paul White expected to hold a press conference on Wednesday to detail the precise reasons for Haas' punishment and premiership demotion.
The Courier-Mail understands the Broncos sanctioned Haas after he became embroiled in twin off-field incidents involving violence between September and November last year.
One was an alleged personal dispute involving family members.
The other relates to a brawl at a Queensland Rugby League semi-final last year that involved his brother and sisters. While Haas was not directly involved, he was in close quarters to a savage scuffle which led to police attending the scene.
After fielding complaints, the Broncos reported the matters to the NRL integrity unit, which begun a formal investigation last November.
Integrity unit officers attempted to interview Haas. When the Broncos rookie refused to comply, Brisbane threw the book at the 117kg front-rower for failing to adhere to the club's values and behavioural standards.
Haas is not guilty of any offence and is not subject to any police investigation.
But the Broncos are concerned with Haas' refusal to help the NRL's behavioural watchdog and have suspended him, effectively putting the entire Brisbane squad on notice.
Haas is one of Brisbane's brightest stars and is tipped to take the NRL by storm this season after his debut 2018 campaign in which he played three games.
Haas was a certainty to be named on Brisbane's bench for their Round 1 clash against the Storm, but the monster prop is now digesting the gravity of the Broncos' hard line stance.
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