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Haas drama no worries for Fittler, NSW

Brad Fittler insists Payne Haas’ contract dispute won’t be a distraction for the prop in NSW State of Origin camp despite the ongoing drama in Brisbane.

Fittler revealed on Sunday that Haas was the first player he called this weekend, to get a gauge on his mindset ahead of Origin camp.

The NSW coach also put in calls to both Haas’ management and Broncos officials, after it emerged the forward had requested an immediate release from the NRL club.

Fittler has previously stated he would prefer not to have players in Blues camp that have contract dramaslingering in the background, claiming they have been a distraction under previous coaches.

He also admitted last week the Haas situation was “not ideal at all”, with the game’s best prop a certain pick for the Blues.

“He was my first phone call,” Fittler said on Nine’s Sports Sunday.

“He means a lot to us. He is a young kid, things took speed out of there really quickly with the way that situation came to a head.

“But I have spoken to all parties and everyone is comfortable, especially Payne. He will put that behind him.

“His shoulder was the biggest problem and he says that the AC joint is doing well and he will be able to get through the 10 days.”

Haas was booed by Broncos fans on Friday night, and is certain to receive a frosty reception at Suncorp Stadium if the drama is still lingering come Game III.

The 22-year-old admitted afterwards he had found the response from Brisbane fans tough, and that it had rattled him before kick off.

However he responded by averaging more than 10 metres a run in Brisbane’s win over Gold Coast, busting seven tackles along the way.

Haas has since claimed he wants to stay with the Broncos, with his management still seeking a richer deal and his current contract not set to expire until the end of 2024.

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