Payne Haas handed monster punishment
The NRL integrity unit have fined Broncos star Payne Haas $50,000 and rubbed him out for the first three rounds of the NRL premiership.
In a major blow to the Broncos' early-season campaign, Haas will miss the kick-off to the 2021 premiership after the NRL integrity unit came down hard on Brisbane's No.1 prop following his bust-up with police last month.
It is the second time the NRL integrity unit has sanctioned Haas, who was fined $20,000 and levelled with a four-game suspension in 2019 for failing to fully comply with a probe by the governing body.
At the tender age of 21, Haas has now been fined a total of $70,000 and missed seven games due to poor conduct in a sign NRL officialdom is losing patience with the NSW Origin prop.
Haas will miss Brisbane's season-opener against Parramatta and also the Broncos' next two games against the Titans and Canterbury before being available for their round-four clash against the Storm.
The NRL have also ordered Haas to undergo an education program and perform community-service work after he was locked up on January 16 following an alcohol-fuelled altercation with Tweed Heads police.
NRL chief executive Andrew Abdo said the game had no tolerance for players abusing or intimidating police.
"Payne's conduct was unacceptable," he said.
"There are no excuses for any form of abuse towards our police force. Any player who intimidates police will be dealt with severely.
"As part of his sanction, Payne is required to participate in an appropriate education program and engage in community service as directed by the NRL. It's important our sanctions are two-fold - they must act as a deterrent but also have an element of education and rehabilitation so players who are in trouble can learn from their mistakes and develop into better young men.
"Although most of our players are outstanding role models in the community, we need to do more to ensure better decision making and accountability among our playing group. We will be reviewing our education programmes and also reviewing our financial penalties, in conjunction with the RLPA, to ensure that we are doing all we can to eliminate instances where the players let themselves and the community down."
The financial penalty of $50,000 is the highest fine allowed for a player under NRL Rules. In consultation with the Rugby League Players Association (RLPA), the NRL will review maximum financial penalties moving forward to ensure they act as an appropriate deterrent to all players.
Haas exclusively broke his silence with News Corp on his latest off-field scandal, admitting he must fix his image or risk losing millions and destroying his NRL career.
The Broncos are willing to support him, mindful another off-field transgression will almost certainly see Haas' multi-million dollar contract torn up.
"I am extremely embarrassed by what's happened," Haas said.
"I know I have let down myself, my family, my teammates and the Broncos and their fans.
"My actions are mine to own. I take full responsibility for what's happened, regardless of me being under the influence of alcohol on the night.
"All I can do is apologise for my actions. It was out of character and I will be working hard on and off the field to repair people's opinions of me."
Haas is rated Brisbane's best front-row prospect in 20 years. Such is his talent, the hulking Haas made his State of Origin debut for the Blues in 2019 after just 10 first-grade games for the Broncos.
Haas will become a father in the coming months and accepts it is time he grew up ahead of the impending birth of his first child.
"This is a year where I want to focus on being the best person I can be, not just a football player," he said.
"I can't wait to be a dad and I certainly want to be the best role model I can be. I am also a bit nervous as being a parent as it comes with big responsibilities.
"I want to be a good partner to Leilani and a great dad to my newborn baby.
"I honestly believe what happened was out of character. I can't wait to play alongside my Broncos teammates this season, but I need to win back the trust and respect of rugby league fans and sponsors of the club.
"I know it is a privilege to play in the NRL, so I need to start acting like it and appreciate it more."
Originally published as Payne Haas handed monster punishment