Off-field issues no concern for Broncos

Ed Jackson |

The outside world may be focused on an off-field incident between Brisbane teammates Payne Haas and Albert Kelly but for Broncos players it has barely had any impact on their lives.

The Broncos fell 24-20 in a gutsy display to the Sydney Roosters at Suncorp Stadium on Friday, after a week where all the talk has been about the club’s culture after a video emerged on social media of Haas and Kelly in a scuffle at a Sydney hotel earlier in the season.

Both players are reportedly set to face suspensions when an NRL integrity unit investigation is concluded, despite coach Kevin Walters insisting the incident was minor and that representative forward Haas had done nothing wrong in his opinion.

Backrower Kurt Capewell said the incident had been swiftly handled within the Broncos dressing room and there was no concern among the playing group about it being a distraction to their season.

“Not really any disruption to be honest,” Capewell said of the week leading into the Roosters game.

“The boys handled it really well.

“They obviously stood up and apologised to everyone for their actions and copped it on the chin like they should have and we move forward.

“We put together a good training week which led into a pretty solid performance.”

The situation and threat of a third ban in three years for an off-field incident clearly didn’t faze Haas, who was one of the best players on the field in Friday’s thrilling contest.

Haas finished with 204 running metres, including 78 post-contact metres from 14 runs, and made 33 tackles in defence especially one try-saving effort to deny Rooster Nat Butcher.

“We’re sticking by him and Albert, we need to support them, get around them,” Walters said.

“Make sure that they’re okay.

“Payne, he’s fine. He’s mentally very tough.”

If Haas is suspended, he’ll be missing for next weekend’s daunting road trip to face premiers Penrith.

A part of the Panthers’ premiership win last year, Capewell said it would be a tough hole to fill if Haas is unavailable but also an opportunity for whomever comes in.

“Obviously he’s an integral part of the team,” Capewell said.

“So that’d be a tough one to cop but we’ve got players that can easily jump in and fill his role and they’ll do their job.

“They’ve been training in the background there, putting in a lot of work in training, so it’d be good to see someone get an opportunity.”