Manly unleash Paseka to counter Broncos giant Haas
An earth-shattering clash of two youthful wrecking balls is set to rock Suncorp Stadium when Taniela Paseka and Payne Haas go head-to-head on Saturday night.
Brisbane will throw 18-year-old Haas into the fray against Manly, likely in the second half, and the Sea Eagles will return serve with 200cm and 119kg Paseka.
Manly coach Trent Barrett revealed how the Sea Eagles had a crack at bringing 195cm and 117kg Haas to Sydney's northern beaches before he signed with Brisbane.
When Barrett was asked whether anyone in his side was set to target Haas he gave the Bronco a rap while identifying 20-year-old Paseka as the man who would be up to the task.
"We tried to sign Haas actually," Barrett said."He's certainly a good player. He's a monster. He is little bit similar to Taniela Paseka, a young bloke we've got of similar age and similar size to be honest.
"They can have a crack at each other tomorrow."
Paseka has been likened to a young Jason Taumalolo and will play his fifth top-grade game at Suncorp Stadium.
Manly second-rower Shaun Lane is the man to clue Paseka up about Haas.
"I actually trained with Payne when I was over at the Warriors and they had him as a junior," Lane told NRL.com.
"He came over in his school holidays and I was wondering whether this kid that had turned up was in the under 20s.
"Someone said 'no he goes to school in Queensland and he's only 15 or 16'. I said 'are you kidding' because he was the same size as he is now, a giant.
"I've kept an eye on him since. He terrorised the under 20 competition and then I watched him debut in the NRL and he killed it. He is going to be a handful this weekend and for years to come."
The Sea Eagles have their own plans to target Haas, but Lane agreed it would be easier said than done.
"It will be hard to rough the kid up but he is in his first couple of games still so he needs to learn to adapt to the speed of the game," Lane said.
"In the earlier stages of his career you'd be looking to exploit something like that."
Barrett also has in-form prop Martin Taupau to launch at the Broncos, and the coach has confirmed the enforcer would see out his contract at Brookvale.
"He's here for another three years and there is no issue around that. Contrary to some media reports we are well under the cap and we don't have to move anyone on," Barrett said.
"He was terrific last week [against the Sydney Roosters]. I think he cleaned up a couple of errors he had through probably trying too hard at times.
"He is so big he does find himself in situations where he can offload the ball a lot."