Haas caps off dream rookie year with Kangaroos nod
Potential Kangaroos debutant Payne Haas says his incredible rise has come from a desire to repay the Broncos for "keeping the faith".
The barnstorming Bronco was among six debutants named in Mal Meninga's 19-man Kangaroos squad, capping off a remarkable season for the youngster.
The 19-year-old was named Rookie of the Year and Prop of the Year at last week's Dally M Awards.
He averaged 175 running metres in a breakout season with the Broncos, that included 91 tackle busts and four tries.
The rampaging teenager made his NSW Origin debut this year and now heads into Kangaroos camp for the first time in the coming weeks to prepare for the upcoming international matches.
Haas was also included in the Prime Minister's XIII squad which trained at Bishop Park in Brisbane's north on Monday.
The boom rookie said he was honoured to be picked in both representative squads.
"It's the highest honour you can get in rugby league and real privileged and blessed to have been picked in these sides," Haas said.
"Playing for your country, any kid dreams about that and wearing the green and gold jersey.
"Versing the likes of New Zealand and Tonga, that's pretty special.
"I didn't expect it. I've been on holidays and just got told I was in the (Prime Ministers XIII) a few days ago and the Kangaroos squad today.
"It's real crazy and real exciting."
The Broncos slapped Haas with a club-imposed ban at the beginning of the season for failing to co-operate with an NRL integrity unit investigation following two off-field incidents that involved family members.
The 19-year-old said he had learnt from his mistakes and his improved form came off the back of repaying the Broncos for their support.
"It wasn't the ideal start I wanted," he said.
"I went through some downs but I've made up for it.
"It's a credit to the Broncos. They made me the person I am now.
"They really helped me out and I'm grateful for that. What I did in the pre-season wasn't acceptable.
"I just wanted to make it up to them. He (Broncos coach Anthony Seibold) gave me a shot in Round 5 when I first came back in so I've just been trying to make it up to them."
Haas was the only Broncos representative picked in this year's Kangaroos squad, while the premiership-winning women were rewarded for their second consecutive season.
Dally M Female Player of the Year runner-up Millie Boyle and enforcer Chelsea Lenarduzzi have both been picked to make their Jillaroos debut, while Annette Brander and Ali Brigginshaw were also selected.
Kangaroos Coach Mal Meninga congratulated all of the players on their selection in the squad.
"We have an extremely healthy mix of incumbent players as well as a number of players who are yet to represent their country," Meninga said.
"This is extremely important for us as we are already building for an important next few seasons with a Kangaroo Tour followed by the World Cup.
"We have an established group of players who have been successful in the jersey and we now have some new faces who have either excelled in the State of Origin series, in the Premiership, or both.
"These two Test matches will be extremely exciting and encouraging from my point of view."
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