Repaying the faith at Brisbane helped Payne Haas to this point, and the teenager says contributing to the NRL club’s resurgence will get him to the next level as he eyes a Test debut.
The 19-year-old was the shining light of Brisbane’s forgettable season, claiming the Dally M rookie and prop of the year honours after making his State of Origin debut for New South Wales.
Selected in Australia’s end-of-year Test squad on Monday, Haas is firming for a start in the front row alongside Canberra’s Josh Papalii against New Zealand and Tonga, on October 25 in Wollongong and November 2 in Auckland, respectively.
With just 24 games to his name, Haas would surpass Braith Anasta (25 games) into fourth on the list of least-experienced players to debut if he plays.
Only Sione Mata’utia (seven), Brent Tate (16) and David Williams (20) were blooded earlier in their careers.
The forward will also play for the Prime Minister’s XIII against Fiji in Suva on Friday and says once his representative duties are done, he’ll have “one or two weeks off” before pre-season training begins.
It’s been a remarkable recovery from a horror start to the season, when Haas was suspended for the opening four rounds by the Broncos for failing to comply with the NRL’s integrity unit.
“It wasn’t the ideal start I wanted; I went through some downs and I’ve made up for it and it’s credit to the Broncos,” he said.
“They really helped me out with everything and I’m very grateful … what I did in pre-season wasn’t acceptable but Seibs (coach Anthony Seibold) took me in and I just wanted to make it up to them when they gave me the chance.”
Haas is confident he can keep improving and says “proving people wrong” will keep the fire burning at Red Hill next season.
Brisbane suffered a historic 58-0 finals drubbing from Parramatta and Seibold’s roster will be under the microscope in his second season in charge in 2020.
“It’s a big year for us, we’ve got to prove a lot of people wrong,” he said.
“It wasn’t the way we wanted to go out … but we’ll be in good hands next year.”