Star prop Payne Haas is back at the Broncos after taking personal leave following charges laid against his mother. See the pictures from Brisbane training
Payne Haas has returned to Broncos training and continued his responsibilities as a senior player despite the stresses of his mother’s alleged involvement in a fatal car accident.
Haas took personal leave after his mother Uiatu ‘Joan’ Taufua was charged with three counts of manslaughter over her alleged involvement in a car crash on the Gold Coast that killed three people.
Haas returned to training on Monday and his first act was to join the likes of Pat Carrigan and Adam Reynolds in a team leadership meeting before the session.
Haas signed autographs for several fans before joining his teammates in a contact session.
His mother remains behind bars, recovering from the injuries she suffered in the crash. Taufua last week withdrew her bail application and her case was adjourned for a committal mention on March 9, a day before Haas and the Broncos are due to host North Queensland at Suncorp Stadium in their Round 2 derby.
Haas has been judged the Broncos’ best player four years in a row.
During his time at the club his form has barely wavered during several off-field dramas such as his threat to leave the club over a contract dispute last season and once being banned for four games after he refused to co-operate with an NRL investigation into two off-field incidents involving family members.
There has been a feeling his rugby league commitments can actually be a “sanctuary’’ for him from stresses beyond the playing field though the charges his mother faces are of an extreme nature.
No-one from the club spoke on Monday though club chief executive Dave Donaghy recently discussed Haas’ predicament with News Corp.
“To be really clear, Payne didn’t have any involvement in this (the car accident). He’s seen his name connected because of obvious reasons. There’s legal proceedings and serious charges that will play out away from the club,” Donaghy said.
“Payne’s got a beautiful daughter and partner and also six brothers and sisters that are school-age.
“Payne’s responsibility in the short term is to look after those close to him. Our responsibility is to take care of Payne.’’
The Broncos’ first-choice side is starting to take shape with backline star Herbie Farnworth returning from a lengthy break due to a bicep injury and new recruit Reece Walsh to be anchored in at fullback.
Haas has freshened up since being ground down by shoulder pain last season as was Kurt Capewell.
The team is having its last week of heavy training before trials then the season proper.
The Broncos are likely to sign coach Kevin Walters for the 2024 season in the next few weeks, a move which would short-circuit speculation over his future.
The “who’s the next coach to be sacked?’’ narrative has become one of rugby league’s big annual talking points and can often destabilise clubs like Brisbane who are struggling to find firm footing.
Bookmakers have mixed feelings about the Broncos prospects having them on the eighth line of betting at $15 but odds-on to make the eight.
Originally published as Payne Haas returns to Brisbane Broncos training for first time since mother’s arrest