NRL News 2023: Payne Haas speaks in court ahead of mother’s return on manslaughter charges

After taking pre-season time off from the club, Payne Haas has settled into a tumultuous time in his life while his mother prepares to return to court.

Payne Haas says a turbulent offseason hasn’t hampered his commitment to the Broncos as the Brisbane enforcer prepares to face the Cowboys on Friday night, just a day after his mother returned to court on manslaughter charges.

The 23-year-old was placed on leave from the Broncos preseason following December’s crash on the Gold Coast that killed three and left his mother Uiatu ‘Joan’ Taufua in prison.

Taufua will appear in court Thursday, charged with triple count of manslaughter and one charge of dangerously operating a motor vehicle, evading police and driving without a license.

Haas had been mostly silent on the issue prior to Monday’s practice session, where he thanked those close to him for their support.

“Everything was fine — obviously I’m just here to play football and I keep that stuff off the field,” said Haas, who got engaged to partner Leilani Mohenoa over the weekend.

“I have some good people around me, so it hasn’t affected me as much as people think.”

The Broncos will need Haas at their best if they want to stop a two-game slip against the Cowboys, who dominated last year’s derby clash between Queensland rivals.

Todd Payten’s side won both matches by a total of 40 points, including a 38-12 win in the match at Suncorp Stadium.

Brisbane boast a 36-20 head-to-head record against north Queensland, but ‘little brother’ has won four of the last five, leading Cowboys playmaker Chad Townsend to claim his side are now ‘bigger brother” in the rivalry.

“Yeah, they have a right to say that, they beat us the last few times,” Haas conceded.

“But we’ll try to get that back this week.

“They gave us some points in both games (last season) and we’re not proud of that – especially at Suncorp last year they pulled our pants down.”

In a major boost, the Broncos will welcome Reece Walsh back after the eye injury that kept him from winning Round 1 against incumbent Premier Penrith. The star full-back is free to train at Red Hill on Monday.

“It’s good to have Walshy back,” Haas said.

“We’ve seen what he’s capable of in testing so we can’t wait to have him back this weekend.”

The Broncos’ challenge now is to maintain the momentum after their shock against the incumbent Premiers on their home turf.

Haas said the Broncos’ impressive defensive strength against the Panthers’ deadly attack was a key cornerstone of the victory built through team continuity over the past few years.

“We obviously knew it was going to be a tough task for us to go to Penrith, especially since they lost that World Club Challenge a few weeks earlier,” he said.

“We knew we had to be in our game and yeah, (I’m) pretty proud of the guys’ performance, especially on defence.

“Obviously knowing what we’re doing on defense and knowing each other inside out (helped). We trust each other a lot now.”

Friday’s clash with the Cowboys is the first of five straight games at Suncorp Stadium and Kevin Walters’ side have an excellent opportunity to start the season on a gallop.

Originally published as Brisbane star Payne Haas reveals toll on family unrest as mum returns to court NRL News 2023: Payne Haas speaks in court ahead of mother’s return on manslaughter charges

Ryan Sederquist

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