Payne Haas is adamant he shouldn't have been suspended for his scuffle with teammate Albert Kelly but the regular subject of NRL integrity investigations admits he may have finally "learnt his lesson".
The Brisbane prop missed last week's loss to Penrith, returning on Friday night to face a below-strength Canterbury in a comeback 34-14 victory that helped coach Kevin Walters avoid the ignominy of a fifth-straight loss.
Haas and Kelly were filmed while in a tangle, Haas taking a swipe at his teammate during an argument that started when the playmaker stomped on the front-rower's new white shoes.
The incident, which took two weeks to surface online, was investigated by the NRL and the pair were subsequently fined and suspended.
Crucially it was Haas's third run-in with the integrity unit, the 22-year-old last year accused of intimidating a female police officer and failing to cooperate with an NRL investigation in 2019.
"I did stuff up a bit, but I felt like it wasn't worthy of getting suspended," a considered Haas said when asked after Friday's win if that suspension had been a wake-up call.
"I felt like I didn't do too much wrong.
"But we're in the public eye; I can't be doing that kind of stuff and I need to handle those kind of situations better, so I've learnt my lesson there."
The NSW star left the field against the Bulldogs after just seven minutes holding his shoulder, but returned and played out the contest after receiving a pain-killing injection.
He's hopeful it's only a minor strain and that he'll be fit to play on Thursday against Cronulla, for whom centre Siosifa Talakai's incredible first-half against Manly stole the limelight.
The bulldozing centre scored twice and set up three more tries, combining brute strength with footwork and even a deft kick for another assist.
It's shot the former garbage man into State of Origin conversation, with another possible Blues centre Kotoni Staggs now faced with the task of trying to stop him.
"He's an animal hey; I couldn't believe it, it was probably one of the best halves of footy I've seen from a player," Haas said of Talakai.
"It's crazy how good his footwork is for a big man.
"He's so hard to tackle, so low to the ground and so quick; you got low on him and he'll try and bump you off somehow.
"I know Tones (Staggs) is going to be up for it; I can't wait to watch that battle, they're both crazy centres in good form."