NSW coach Brad Fittler says the contract saga between Payne Haas and Brisbane is “not ideal at all” with State of Origin selection looming on Sunday night.
Haas would be one of the first names on Fittler 22-man list for the opener June 8, having made seven appearances since his 2019 debut.
But the 22-year-old prop on Thursday asked the Broncos for an immediate release from his contract, which was denied by the NRL club.
The three-time Broncos best-and-fairest winner is seeking a contract upgrade while he is also at loggerheads with former manager Chris Orr.
Fittler has always said he doesn’t want any distractions in his Blues camp and urged Haas and Brisbane to sort out their differences.
“It’s not ideal at all,” Fittler told Nine news.
“I know from Payne’s point of view and Brisbane’s; I’m sure they want to clear this up and get on with it as they’re having a fantastic season and this could hijack it.
“I spoke to Payne before and he said that he’s in a good mindset at the moment,” Fittler said.
“His focus is the (game against the) Titans this weekend so at the moment I’m happy with that.”
Haas’ eligibility to play State of Origin should the Broncos give him an immediate release is uncertain dependent on his status as a registered NRL player.
Haas confirmed on Instagram he would turn out for the club against Gold Coast on Friday night.
Brisbane captain Adam Reynolds expected him to turn up with the right mindset.
Reynolds, who will miss the match with a hamstring strain, hoped Haas would be at Brisbane long-term.
“I’ve spoken to Payne and he’s assured us that he’s playing and he’s a professional and I know he’ll do his job,” Reynolds told Triple M.
“But obviously it’s not the news you want to hear for someone who is an important part of your team, and fingers crossed that things get solved and that he’s at the Broncos for a very long time to come.”
Reynolds questioned whether long-term deals were the best idea for youngsters coming into the game when their true value was still to be determined.
“The rise of these kids these days … they go from being 20-years-old fringe first-graders to superstars of the game and they outgrow their contract pretty quick.
“Payne is a great player who probably signed for a lot less than what he’s worth.
“That’s the risk you take with long-term contracts.”