Haas rejects Wallabies and Bulldogs to remain in Brisbane - mere minutes after TPJ quits to free up cap space
Boxing is on the cards for an NRL star who has stunned the competition by ending his playing career early.
Zeda Haas, the brother of NRL superstar Payne Haas, has been arrested after being found in possession of 1.8kg of methamphetamine.
He was arrested outside of Newcastle and charged with attempting to bring the drug into NSW from Queensland. It has an estimated street value of $1.1 million.
“Both men were arrested at the scene and taken to Maitland Police Station,” said a police statement.
“There they were charged with traffic in commercial quantity of controlled drug, and take part supply prohibited drug – large commercial quantity.”
The arrested occurred on the same day that Payne signed a monster $3.5m extension with the Broncos that will see him stay at the club until 2027.
Tevita Pangai junior’s decision to swap the NRL for boxing has been questioned, with former player Braith Anasta and journalist Paul Crawley telling NRL360 that they thought there was more to the story than met the eye.
“This was a curveball that came out of nowhere,” said Anasta
“You think that Tevita Pangai walks into the office on $750,000 next year and he walks an goes you know what I’m done. I’m going to go box for $15,000 a fight.
“I’m going to make the call. I believe he walks away, he gets some sort of payout, has a couple of fights and then he signs for another club next year. He comes out he’s refreshed, he wants to play again, he hasn’t achieved what he wants to achieve in the game, he’s got unfinished business.”
Crawley added: “If you believe in that, you believe in the tooth fairy.
“I’ll tell you know, it wouldn’t surprise me one bit to see him play somewhere else in the not so distant future. It makes sense. The guy is 27-year-old, he’s got all the talent in the world, but he hasn’t aimed up.
“If he can find someone who can get that out of him and unlock it. You know what, he has a relationship with Wayne Bennett going back to when he played at the Broncos
“It would not shock me to see him down the track playing rugby league. I can’t believe he’s walked away from $750,000 a year if he doesn’t have plans outside of, as Braith says, $15,000 a fight.”
David Riccio stuck up for TPJ and backed his decision.
“What I do know is that Tevita Pangai Junior fronted the playing group this morning to break the news,” said Riccio.
“He believes that not only does he feel as though his game has fallen to a standard of which isn’t acceptable at an NRL level. He also has an ambition to be a boxer.
“As such, he approached the club for a release. It’s my understanding that he approached the club and it has been in the background for sometime as well as discussions about his standards.
“This is a bloke who has also been through three managers in the space of two seasons. He walks to the beat of his own drum. He’s a different individual to most footballers.”
North Queensland co-captain Jason Taumalolo will play his 250th NRL game for the club against Cronulla facing the kind of make-or-break scenario where he shines.
The 30-year-old will play prop against the Sharks in Townsville on Thursday night in the first of three must-win games for the Cowboys if they are to make the finals.
Away games against the Dolphins and Penrith follow. The Cowboys are on 28 points in ninth position, two points behind the fifth-placed Sharks.
Former Cowboys star Brent Tate said Taumalolo’s best will be vital if the Cowboys are to go on a winning run.
Taumalolo missed two months of action mid-season with a knee injury and returned against Penrith on the bench in Townsville in round 16 to inspire a vital 27-23 win.
Tate was underwhelmed by Taumalolo’s first stint in that game, but when he came back on he showcased the kind of inspirational form they were after.
“He came on in the second stint and blew Penrith away,” Tate said.
“He took the game over and the Cowboys won the game on the back of it and that is the freakish ability of Jase.
“Jase is going to be hugely important going forward and what he showed that night against Penrith is what they are going to need in the next three weeks going into the finals.
“When the players look around the dressing room and see Jase there it gives them great belief.
“He has been a wonderful player for a long time. He’s been generational, to be able to do what he has and for as long in the middle.”
Taumalolo said he was ready for the challenge ahead.
“It is going to come down to the wire,” Taumalolo said.
“We are in a position where we have to win all our games for the remainder of the year but I am confident in the team we have.”
The 2015 premiership winner said his milestone game would be one to cherish.
“The support these guys have shown me throughout my career and being able to represent the people of North Queensland means a lot to me,” he said.
“To go out there and do it for the 250th time is everything to me.”
The Paul Green Medal will be awarded by the winning coach to his team’s best player after the game.
The late former Cowboys coach played for both clubs and famously mentored North Queensland to their maiden premiership in 2015.
“It is special to be involved in such a game,” Taumalolo said.
“Greeny coached me for most of my career and he was a wonderful mentor for myself.”