Forced to act quickly

The Gold Coast Bulletin - - SPORT - RIKKI-LEE ARNOLD

BRONCOS coach Wayne Ben­nett says the club had to se­cure Payne Haas for the long-term fu­ture in a bid to ward off ri­val suit­ors.

It was re­vealed on Wed­nes­day that Bris­bane had given the teenage sen­sa­tion a fiveyear ex­ten­sion beyond 2019, re­port­edly worth $3.4 mil­lion.

The deal makes Haas the high­est-paid teenager in his­tory, but some crit­ics have ques­tioned whether it is too much money for the 18-yearold given he has played just three NRL games.

But Ben­nett said Haas ac­tu­ally set­tled for less money to stay at Bris­bane, with other NRL clubs throw­ing big­ger of­fers his way.

“It was cer­tainly not as high as what other clubs had of­fered him,” Ben­nett said.

“He’s a player in great de­mand and we see him with a long-term fu­ture here.

“The club has a long his­tory of play­ers be­ing happy here and want­ing to stay here.

“Foot­ball’s not just about how much you get paid, it’s about wel­fare, hap­pi­ness, who you play with and we’ve al­ways struck a pretty good bal­ance here.”

Haas, out for the sea­son with a shoul­der in­jury, also de­cided to stay in Bris­bane be­cause of the pres­ence of su­per­coach Ben­nett.

The ex­ten­sion for the gi­ant for­ward is just the first of many sign­ing an­nounce­ments the Broncos hope to make over the com­ing months, with the likes of Te­vita Pan­gai Jr, Corey Oates, Jaydn Su’A and Matt Lodge off-con­tract. The club will lose for­ward Korbin Sims to the Dragons next sea­son, but Ben­nett said it was a de­ci­sion that had to be made to keep Haas around un­til 2024.

He said they would now turn their at­ten­tion to their re­main­ing off-con­tract play­ers.

“I’d love to have kept Korbin … but you put an of­fer of six years for some­one else, we’re go­ing to have to keep mak­ing de­ci­sions like that,” he said. “They’re not ones that we like but the bot­tom line is we have to make them oth­er­wise we’ll have a club that’s not any­where near it’s po­ten­tial.”

The Broncos yes­ter­day sprung a shock at train­ing, with Dar­ius Boyd run­ning at left cen­tre and Ja­mayne Isaako at full­back ahead of tonight’s show­down with Pen­rith.

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