Broncos prop Haas out of Panthers clash

Joel Gould |

Broncos prop Payne Haas (left) goes through his paces at training on Wednesday.
Broncos prop Payne Haas (left) goes through his paces at training on Wednesday.

Brisbane will be without Payne Haas for the NRL grand-final rematch with Penrith after the powerful prop succumbed to a knee injury.

Haas joins Broncos captain Adam Reynolds (medial collateral ligament) on the sidelines for Thursday night’s clash in Penrith.

Broncos coach Kevin Walters had named Haas in the hope the player would get through Wednesday’s captain’s run with no ill-effects.

But the representative front-rower stayed in the rehab group and Walters said the club would err on the side of caution after Haas’s knee flared up.

Roosters recruit Fletcher Baker will make his starting debut for the Broncos and rookie prop Xavier Willison will come into the 17.

“Payne won’t be playing,” Walters said.

“He still has some problems with his knee so we will get the doctor to look at it and see how we go.

“We always have our players’ welfare first and foremost. 

“We will start Fletcher Baker. Xavier Willison comes into the 17 and he is a terrific prospect.

“(Payne) feels he is letting the team down but he’s not. We will get his knee looked at properly and see what the issue is.

“He didn’t feel 100 per cent today. He is a key player for us so we will play him when he is fit.”

Walters said Haas would have further scans on his knee and consult a specialist to determine if he needed an extended period on the sidelines.

The coach said the 24-year-old could be out for more than one week.

“We will speak to our own doctor Matty Hislop,” he said.

“I honestly believed he would be playing (against Penrith) but we don’t want to take that risk with him this early in the season, so we will get him properly checked out.

“I don’t believe it is anything that will keep him out of the game for a long time but I am not a medical expert.”

Walters said Fletcher had been “very solid” and deserved his start.

The coach has faith Reynolds’ replacement Jock Madden would step up against Nathan Cleary.

“It’s an awesome chance for Jock. He played the trials and we love what he brings to our team,” he said.

“He had the choice of us or Penrith (before he signed with Brisbane) and I am pleased he did choose us. 

“He gets an opportunity tomorrow night to reward the Broncos and his teammates with a really strong performance.

“He has matured a whole lot, particularly under Adam (Reynolds) and his leadership and guidance.

“He has all the skills. We are confident he will continue to improve and you will see that against the Panthers.”