Brisbane Broncos coach Kevin Walters has hit out at the NRL for suspended Payne Haas after he was recorded hitting his teammate Albert Kelly in a fight over the star prop’s sneakers.
The New South Wales Blues enforcer was rubbed out for one match for his role in the push-and-shove with Kelly after the team’s win over the Bulldogs in round two.
The incident was caught on camera and was reportedly sparked because Kelly intentionally scuffed his teammate’s brand-new shoes.
The incident between Haas and Kelly in the NRL pre-season that saw them suspended
Haas appeared to strike Kelly with an open hand but there were no punches thrown and nobody was hurt in the incident, yet both players copped a suspension from the NRL.
‘The Payne one, I was disappointed in the way that was all handled,’ Walters said on SEN Radio.
‘I didn’t really believe he did a whole lot wrong, and it was only that it was filmed.
‘He served his suspension, but I didn’t agree with the NRL.’
Walters believes the suspension was not warranted and that his star prop didn’t do much wrong in the pre-season incident
It comes after Haas also previously said he didn’t believe the punishment fit the crime.
‘I felt like I wasn’t worthy of getting suspended,’ he said in April.
‘I felt like I didn’t do too much wrong, but obviously we’re in the public eye and I can’t be doing that kind of stuff. I’ve got to handle those kinds of situations a bit better.’
Haas missed the previous week with a shoulder complaint, but was back to his rampaging best as the Broncos thrashed Manly 38-0 for their fourth consecutive win.
The prop finished with 178 metres from 18 runs, two tackle breaks, six passes and 24 tackles without a miss.
Haas was back to his best as the Broncos steamrolled the Manly Sea Eagles on Friday
‘Obviously I had a week off, my shoulder was a bit sore and I thought it was best to myself back for the team at 100 per cent,’ he said following the win.
‘To come back and get four in a row against a quality team felt good.
‘I think in the pre-season we were working well together and that’s starting to show, especially in these last four games,’ he said.
‘It’s just pleasing to put it all together as a team, especially against a team like Manly.
‘Obviously there were some pretty tough years there … but we haven’t achieved anything yet.
‘We’ve got to stay humble and hungry.’