Kevin Walters SLAMS NRL’s integrity unit for one-match suspension handed to Payne Haas following fracas with Albert Kelly as Broncos boss says he ‘feels sorry’ for Brisbane fans
- Kevin Walters has slammed the decision to hand Payne Haas a one-match ban
- Haas will miss this week’s game with Penrith for a fracas with Albert Kelly
- Walters said he does not agree with the punishment and feels for the fans
Brisbane coach Kevin Walters doesn’t agree with the punishment dished out to star prop Payne Haas after the NRL ruled the front-rower out of Friday’s trip to face Penrith.
Haas was handed a one-game suspension and a $10,000 fine after video circulated of him and Broncos five-eighth Albert Kelly involved in a fracas in a hotel lobby.
Kelly was also banned for one game and handed a $5000 penalty.
Kevin Walters has blasted the NRL integrity unit’s call to hand Payne Haas a one-match ban
The incident was not Haas’ first run-in with the NRL’s integrity unit, with the young forward’s rap sheet of off-field transgressions growing by the season.
‘No, I don’t (agree with it),’ Walters said.
‘But it doesn’t matter what my opinion is. So now I feel sorry for Payne and the club and our fans.
‘We will abide by the rules and just get on with a week’s suspension and he’ll be welcomed back into the team.’
Already without Haas as well as fellow props Thomas Flegler and Patrick Carrigan, Brisbane are facing an uphill battle on the Panthers’ home turf, a ground where Ivan Cleary’s men have not lost since 2019.
Corey Jensen comes in at prop to partner Keenan Palasia, but Walters’ backline has also taken a hit with English centre Herbie Farnworth pulling out of Friday’s clash with a cork.
Delouise Hoeter will fill in for his Broncos debut and his first appearance at NRL level since a seven-game stint with the Wests Tigers in 2015.
Despite the growing list of absences, Walters said Brisbane weren’t going in without a sense of expectation against a Panthers side buoyed by the retention of coach Ivan Cleary and son Nathan until the end of 2027.
Haas (L) was involved in a fracas with team-mate Albert Kelly (R) in a hotel lobby last month
Broncos coach Walters said he ‘feels sorry’ for the fans ahead of their match with Penrith
‘There’s no free hits in the NRL, not for the Broncos anyway,’ Walters said.
‘We’re expecting them to be the team that we know they’ve been all year.
‘They’ve been a good side for a long time and Ivan’s been a good coach for a long time.
‘Between them and the Storm, they’ve been the standout teams the last two or three years, but we’ll see if we can spoil their little party tomorrow night.
‘It’s very simple what they do, but very effective. Their spine has been really settled for the last two or three years and they know each other’s games really well.
‘We’ve got to control the ball, defend well, and we’ll be right in the game.’