Brisbane Broncos spent months trying to convince teenager Payne Haas to speak to the NRL’s integrity unit and say they had no choice but to suspend him for four games and fine him $20,000 when his co-operation fell short.
The investigation stemmed from two off-field incidents involving the 19-year-old’s family members, one a wild brawl at a local rugby league game late last year.
Announcing the sanction on Wednesday, Broncos boss Paul White stressed Haas had not committed any alleged acts of violence and the investigation had now closed.
It is understood the NRL worked closely with the Broncos to deliver the punishment and a harsher penalty would’ve ensued if Haas had completely refused to co-operate.
Despite the club’s constant urgings either side of Christmas, though, White said the emerging prop’s level of co-operation fell short and warranted more than a slap on the wrist
“I just draw the link between complex family matters and an integrity unit investigation and I think you can join the dots,” he said, stressing there was no expectation to put club before family.
“There’s a huge amount of tension in that … if we could’ve chosen another course of action we wouldn’t be sitting here today but that action was dictated by that level of co-operation.
“It may result in a negative outcome but I’m hopeful in Payne’s case this will be a reference point for his future.”
Haas was among the best on ground in last weekend’s trial game in Warwick and had been named to start on Saturday against Queensland Cup side Wynnum Manly.
But he has been scratched from the game, with White saying the club had made the most of the time afforded to them in the preseason to make a considered decision.
White said new coach Anthony Seibold was integral in handing down the punishment in what could prove a significant moment as he begins his tenure in the post-Wayne Bennett era.
“He’s here for a long time and gets a chance to have a long-term view,” White said.
“He’s had big input (in the suspension).
“One thing I know young men crave is structure but also discipline. They want to know what the boundaries are.
“Care and respect is also about making tough decisions, not just patting people on the back and (Seibold) understands that.”
© AAP 2019