Why Broncos are raving about NRL's next big thing
The Broncos training field is fast becoming "the house of Payne".
Payne Haas has only just turned 18 but rusted-on veterans of the Brisbane Broncos continue to wax lyrical about the impact, and serious impact, the 194cm and 117kg teenaged prop is having this pre-season.
It was the first few days of training and Alex Glenn had just been put through the ringer in a fitness drill when he told NRL.com he was blown away by Haas's aerobic capacity for a big unit.
"He just keeps going. We'll have to call him 'no pain'," Glenn grinned.
Days later Sam Thaiday was relating how Haas was leading the plethora of young Brisbane forwards who were keeping him honest.
Next up it was Korbin Sims' turn to tell Broncos TV: "Payne Haas, geez, everyone is talking about him".
"I came in and trained with him last week and he absolutely smashed the times," Sims enthused.
"He's a big human but only a young kid. He has got a lot of potential."
On Tuesday after training it was Andrew McCullough's turn, who is the sort of guy who will throw praise around when it is deserved and not for the hell of it.
McCullough was asked whether Haas reminded him of Dave Taylor, that other giant behemoth who once strode the Broncos training field with thud after thud in his youth. The Bronco rake's answer was instructive.
"Dave Taylor was a very skilful player, athletic and quick across the ground," McCullough replied.
"Payne is probably a different style to Dave. He loves getting in and doing the tough stuff. He enjoys training and gets in and competes hard every day, and that is all you can want from him.
"He wants to get in there and do some contact and mix it up with the older boys."
McCullough made the point that for Haas it was not about the "pretty" stuff , but about the tough stuff.
The Broncos rake has been around a while and was treading that line between answering honestly and not talking the Keebra Park High product up too much.
When asked about Haas's considerable aerobic capabilities, he made another point.
"It is quite remarkable with the size he is, but you've seen a lot of good trainers over the years not be able to play football," McCullough warned.
"We've got to make sure that Payne does the other side of what he gets paid to do, and that's play football."
McCullough said several times that he expected coach Wayne Bennett would nurture Payne through the season and manage his game time, while conceding that 18 wasn't too young to be thrown into the cauldron of the NRL. He was asked whether he thought that would happen this year.
"You'd like to think so," McCullough said.
"Going by his running times you'd think he'd be in there but … you've got to realise that he has only just turned 18 and has a lot of football still to go, and he's playing in a tough position as well in the middle.
"So [opponents] will certainly aim up on a big guy and a young guy like that early on.
"Size-wise and athletically Payne will be fine. It will just be about managing the amount of games that he plays and the amount of minutes he plays.
"He might play every game ... or he might play around Origin time, but he is certainly putting his best foot forward. He just wants to get in there and he is certainly throwing his weight around for an 18-year-old, which is very impressive."
Throwing his weight around all right. No doubt Broncos fans can't wait to watch him play his first NRL game too.