NRL CEO Andrew Abdo vows to come down harder on repeat offenders

NRL CEO Andrew Abdo hasn’t ruled out increasing fines for misbehaving players despite hitting Broncos star Payne Haas with the heaviest fine allowed under NRL rules following the prop‘s altercation with a police officer.

Haas’ reputation copped another blow on Monday when the NRL integrity unit fined him $50,000 and rubbed him out for the first three rounds of the 2021 season after he pleaded guilty to two counts of intimidating NSW Police in an ugly incident last month.

It is the second time the NRL integrity unit has sanctioned the Broncos big man, who was fined $20,000 and levelled with a four-game suspension in 2019 for failing to fully comply with a probe by the governing body.

At the tender age of 21, Haas has now been fined a total of $70,000 and missed seven games due to poor conduct in a sign NRL officialdom is losing patience with the talented yet troubled big man.

Abdo confirmed the NRL will complete a wide-ranging review of its sanctions for player misbehaviour, including a review of the maximum financial penalties in conjunction with the Rugby League Players’ Association.

He believes hitting the players in the back pocket is one of the most effective ways of discouraging poor behaviour.

“I don’t know about you, but I wouldn’t like to incur a fine,” Abdo said.

“I know I scream blue murder when I get a parking fine that becomes $100, so I think the financial pain that this will inflict on a player is a huge deterrent.

“Yes, we are going to look at the penalty, but we are also going to look at ways in which we can better connect with our players.

“It has been a number of years since we reviewed our penalty regime and what the cap is for the players.

“Since then, a lot of things have changed. The salary cap is higher and financial economy has changed, but equally there is a small group of players that are continuing to transgress not to the standards we expect at the NRL or the standards that the community expects.”

Brisbane prop Payne Haas’ reputation copped another blow when the NRL integrity unit fined him $50,000 and rubbed him out for the first three rounds of the 2021 season Picture: Richard WalkerSource:News Corp Australia

The NRL have also ordered Haas to undergo an education program and perform community-service work after he was locked up on January 16 following an alcohol-fuelled altercation with Tweed Heads police.

Abdo said the league have tailored a specific program around respect for police for the NSW Origin representative.

“The ability of rugby league to make a difference in the players’ lives, some of which have come from challenging circumstances,” he said.

“Every incident is different, and every player has their own story, but I genuinely believe that we need to do more to help players make better decisions.

“It is up to us to be able to create a better human and role model, but the player has to want to change.

“If they choose to do that, then the game will always be there to help them.

“As a young 21-year-old, he has a potentially an incredibly bright future ahead of him but he needs to make certain decisions from here on in.

“We can give him all the tools and resources, but he needs to make certain decisions himself.”

Haas will miss Brisbane’s season-opener against Parramatta and also the Broncos’ next two games against the Titans and Canterbury before being available for their round-four clash against the Storm.

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