Stand-in Brisbane captain Kurt Capewell has said there was more chat this week about the fish he hooked than Payne Haas’s failed attempt to walk out on the NRL club.
Capewell smiled through questions over the star prop’s midweek request for an immediate release from his contract, which runs until 2024, and swiftly denied by the Broncos.
“We talked more about the 76cm snapper I caught during the week than Payne Haas,” Capewell said.
“We knew it was happening; Payno wrote us a message and said, ‘boys, I’m fully committed to you guys, let’s go out and do the job’.”
Asked how he could be committed to a club he’s prepared to exit, Capewell pointed to his performance in a game where Brisbane overcame 18-0 and 24-4 deficits to heap more misery on the Titans.
“Did you see his efforts tonight? You tell me if he’s committed,” he said.
“We love our fans, they’re passionate.
“We’re in a game where you’ve got to be passionate for your club, but see the business side of it.
“It’s a fine balance; things like this come up all the time I don’t see why it’s such a fuss.”
The backrower insisted Haas, who has knocked back a deal understood to be worth about $900,000 a season in the hope of more at Red Hill or elsewhere, had the backing of his teammates.
That’s despite the huge Brisbane crowd, riding a winning streak that stretched to six with Friday’s comeback win over Gold Coast, booing the 22-year-old every time he touched the ball.
“It’s been tough,” Haas told Channel Nine.
“I’m usually not one to get rattled but when I heard the boos it rattled me a bit. I had to compose myself, stay in the game and do my job for the team.”
Coach Kevin Walters admitted he wasn’t sure why the three-time best and fairest winner wanted to leave.
“I was a bit, not so much disappointed but more, ‘oh ok’,” he said.
“I’m confident we can … sort something out. We’re not going to obviously release him.
“I don’t believe it’ll drag on but I’ll stay in my lane and keep coaching Payne Haas.”