Payne Haas looks almost certain to join Brad Fittler’s mounting list of unavailable talent for NSW’s State of Origin opener, with the Brisbane forward likely facing up to a month out with a knee injury.
The Broncos enforcer damaged a ligament early in his NRL side’s 40-12 loss to Melbourne on Thursday, playing through the pain before hobbling off after 50 minutes.
Early reports indicate Haas sustained damage to his medial ligament and will be sidelined for between two to four weeks.
That could see him miss not only the Origin opener on Wednesday week, but also the return clash at Suncorp Stadium on June 27.
Haas will have scans on Friday but, ahead of Fittler naming the side on Sunday night, said post-game he was “pretty gutted” at the thought of not suiting up for the Blues.
Backrower Angus Crichton and his Sydney Roosters teammate Victor Radley will both miss the opener because of suspension while former skipper Boyd Cordner (concussion) is gone for the entire series.
The absence of Haas will also rob the clash of his rematch with Queensland enforcer Tino Fa’asuamaleaui after the rookie pair went toe-to-toe last season.
Fittler has a wealth of options elsewhere, particularly in the halves and backline, while Queensland coach Paul Green is monitoring the fitness of Melbourne trio Harry Grant, Cameron Munster and Christian Welch, who all missed the clash with the Broncos.