Upgrade: Genetic freak’s off-season enhancement
Payne Haas has warned NRL rivals he is about to get even better with the Broncos prop slashing weight from his gigantic 120kg frame in a bid to be a more dynamic force this season.
Haas' 2020 campaign begins on Friday with Brisbane banking on the front-row phenom's size, power and aerobic engine to lead the Broncos to glory in the two-day NRL Nines tournament in Perth.
The Broncos' forward pack will be spearheaded by Haas and David Fifita, the powerhouse duo whose off-season was plunged into turmoil following their emotional off-field saga in Bali.
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But Haas has emphatically closed the door on his ill-fated Indonesian trip, with the 20-year-old determined not to be complacent this season after a whirlwind 2019 campaign which catapulted him to a NSW Origin debut.
Haas was outstanding last season at just 19, emerging as the code's new front-row superstar with powerhouse charges that saw him amass 3888 running metres at a whopping average of 185m per game.
His teenage years now behind him, Haas is ready for more responsibility this season, believing he has only scratched the surface of his talent as he looks to break Brisbane's 14-year premiership drought.
"I want to take my game to a new level this year. That's my goal," Haas said.
"It's important for me to stay consistent and I've worked hard on my fitness in the pre-season, so it shouldn't be a problem repeating what I did last year if I keep my focus and attitude.
"There's always pressure on me, but I'm not satisfied with what I've done yet. I'm not complacent. I know I will put in the hard work again."
Haas' output defies NRL conventions. Hulking 110kg-plus front-rowers are not supposed to play 80 minutes of NRL football, but the genetically blessed Haas has little trouble outlasting NRL rivals 20kg lighter.
The scary thing for NRL opponents is that the Broncos bookend is looking fitter.
"I am actually lighter than what I played at last year," Haas said.
"I was 120kg last year but I'm down to 117-118kg so I am keen to stay around there this season.
"It wasn't really a goal to lose weight but with the training in pre-season, it's made me drop a few kilos.
"I'm actually enjoying being a bit lighter, I'm getting around the field easier."
Haas has the mix of fitness and finesse to be one of the players of the Nines tournament and the Origin young gun is keen to run riot in the open spaces.
"I will approach it the same way I play the 13-a-side game," he said.
"I'm a front-rower so it's my job to create momentum for my team so we can get on the front foot.
"It's important I don't miss any tackles because there's a lot of space out there."