‘Hasn’t murdered anyone’: Great calls for captain Haas
Broncos legend Corey Parker has declared Payne Haas is the club's standout captaincy contender and urged Brisbane bosses to not put a line through the Origin bad boy.
Haas will face court in Tweed Heads next month after being charged with intimidating police and using offensive language during a drunken incident last Saturday night.
It is the third time Haas will be grilled by the NRL Integrity Unit after he received a four-game ban in 2019 for failing to properly co-operate with a league investigation into incidents involving his family.
Haas, 21, was also unwittingly embroiled in former Broncos teammate David Fifita's Bali arrest in late 2019, of which he was cleared of any wrongdoing.
The northern NSW arrest has put a mark against Haas' name as new coach Kevin Walters searches for a captain ahead of the 2021 NRL season.
Walters has failed to guarantee incumbent skipper Alex Glenn will retain the job, opening the door for a number of contenders to step into the role.
Parker, a 347-game club legend who captained the Broncos solely and alongside Justin Hodges, said Haas' arrest shouldn't cost him the job.
"From working alongside them, Payne Haas comes to mind," said Parker, who was an assistant to former coach Anthony Seibold.
"He leads every week, his standards at training are high.
"'Payno' doesn't talk often, but when he does people listen. They just do. That is off the back of the respect he gets every week on the playing field and more importantly the training paddock.
"When your captain is someone who lives up to the high quality standards then that is captaincy material to me.
"Yes, he has had a couple of moments that haven't shone great on him but haven't all captains had that? He hasn't murdered anyone.
"If you want to put things in perspective, Mitchell Pearce captained the Knights last year and he had a past. Johnathan Thurston (arrested in 2010) was one of the great captains and had a past. Paul Gallen (Cronulla) was the same, Justin Hodges, myself. We've all had our moments.
"I'm following Payne into battle. If he says 'let's do it' then I'm following him. He has shown over the last few years 'this is the way, this is what we're doing'.
"He shouldn't be ruled out because of this."
While Walters has left the captaincy door open, what has become apparent is the Broncos are devoid of genuine contenders on the back of claiming last year's wooden spoon.
Despite being a Test and Origin star and the Broncos' player of the year for the past two seasons, Haas has only played 41 NRL games and is in the infancy of his career.
Glenn, 32, is a 267-game stalwart but appears to be on the outer and is likely entering the final year of his career.
Hooker Andrew McCullough is in the mix, but was last year released to Newcastle for the season and has interest from the Dragons to make an immediate move south.
Well-spoken forward Patrick Carrigan captained the Broncos at times last year and is seen as a future leader, however he has only played 38 NRL games.
Maligned five-eighth Anthony Milford is a smoky for the job, holding a close relationship with Walters which dates back to Brisbane's grand final season in 2015.
Milford, 26, is off-contract this year and his future remains unclear while he has also previously been reluctant to step into the public eye.
What is clear is the Broncos are no longer a club with established senior stars, having previously had captains like Wally Lewis, Allan Langer, Darren Lockyer and Walters among other greats of the game.
Parker said he was saddened to see the Broncos in such a state due to what could be called poor succession planning.
"The captaincy of the Broncos is one of the most prestigious achievements and roles you can have, the club has been founded and built on success," he said.
"When I got the captaincy, shared with 'Hodgo' and by myself, was a special, emotional day. The club means so much to so many people.
"For me it was a boyhood dream to play for the Broncos. To be named captain was a special occasion.
"To hear it is 'up for grabs'…it is what it is. There's been a change over the last few years where it became 'who gets it?'. It's like a lottery at the moment.
"Previous to that, over the last few decades, you knew who would be next in line.
"There are some wonderful leaders there and it's not their fault, but it's disappointing to hear it's up for grabs. It's the Brisbane Broncos."
Originally published as 'Hasn't murdered anyone': Great calls for captain Haas