Broncos coach Kevin Walters has opened up on the bombshell release request from his star prop, Payne Haas, admitting the club was “shocked” by the move.
It comes after the Broncos flatly rejected Haas’ request for the immediate release on Thursday.
Haas is signed to the Broncos until the end of 2024 on a deal understood to be worth around $ 800,000 a season.
“Payne Haas is contracted to the Brisbane Broncos until the end of the 2024 NRL season,” Brisbane said in a statement.
“The club will not be entertaining a release. 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. ”
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Speaking on Brisbane’s Nova radio, Walters confirmed there was a breakdown in contract negotiations, but is confident the club and Haas will come to an agreement.
“His management has asked for a release. They put an offer to us for Payne to stay, and we rejected that offer, ”he said.
“We understand Payne has been a great player for us, and we want to look after him financially, but we just couldn’t come to an agreement.
“Contracts are about negotiation, and we’re happy to negotiate.
“They sent an email back to (football boss) Ben Ikin saying that if this isn’t the case, then Payne wants an immediate release, which shocked us really.
“We’re trying to work through with his management on keeping Payne at Red Hill.
“That’s the outcome we both want. I’m sure we can come to an agreement.
“We stood by him in good times and bad. It’s a two-way street. He’s always been a Bronco and we want him to stay.
“The players treat rugby league as a business, they understand that at different times players are going to move on.
“That’s the world they live in.”
According to News Corp, Haas’ new management were demanding an upgraded deal of $ 1 million this season and 2023 before jumping again to $ 1.2 million in 2024.
The Broncos, however, reportedly informed the Haas team that they did not have the cap space to accommodate the upgrade.
It prompted Haas, according to The Sydney Morning Heraldto sensationally ask for an immediate release on Wednesday night.
Haas reportedly rejected an upgraded $ 5.75 million contract offer last year that would have made him one of the NRL’s top earners.
A source confirmed to The Courier Mail that Haas had requested a release.
“It’s correct, Payne Haas has asked for a release. He asked for it last night, ”the source said.
“He’s been having contract issues with his manager. He asked for an upgrade, but the Broncos came back with a no, so Payne has said: ‘OK well I’d like a release.’
“He just wants to get what he is worth. I think he will play against the Titans this week but he wants to leave now.
“He is a bit disappointed with how things have played out.”
Haas was seen training on Thursday morning, but there are doubts over whether he will play in the Broncos’ clash with the Titans on Friday night.
It’s understood that Haas doesn’t have another club lined up at this stage, with 2023 Dolphins coach Wayne Bennett telling the Herald he had no knowledge of Haas’ request.
However, News Corp. reports that four rivals are interested in an immediate move for the superstar prop, which probably includes the Sydney Roosters, a club that has long been linked to the NSW Origin star.
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The revelation comes amide a three-month standoff between Haas and his former manager, Chris Orr.
It was revealed in February that Haas was looking to recover agent fees he paid to Orr in the Supreme Court, claiming his former manager had a conflict of interest and failed to abide the rules and requirements of agents.
It was reported earlier this month that Haas was facing a counter claim from Orr for unpaid commission fees of over $ 200,000.
Court documents filed by Orr claim that Haas is earning $ 748,000 this season. The documents claim his salary will rise to $ 798,000 in 2023 and again to $ 848,000 in 2024, the final year of his Brisbane contract.