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Payne Haas ready to fill forward void for Broncos

More than 600 NRL games of forward experience has walked out the door at Brisbane which is why 18-year-old Payne Haas says he is leaving no stone unturned in his quest to secure one of the top 17 spots up for grabs in round one.

Haas has kept himself fit in the off-season with regular six-kilometre runs on Saturdays alongside his father Gregor part of his personal program to keep his 120kg frame in shape.

The retirement of 304-game veteran Sam Thaiday, the exit of Korbin Sims (120 games) for the Dragons and imminent departure of Test lock Josh McGuire (194 games) for the Cowboys has left a massive hole in the middle forward stocks.

Haas played limited minutes in his three NRL games in 2018 before a shoulder injury against the Bulldogs ended his season. He announced himself as a player of substance in those matches and will compete with the likes of Patrick Carrigan (20) and Thomas Flegler (19), both yet to make their NRL debuts, for a bench position against the Storm in round one.

He said the Broncos would miss Thaiday and company but acknowledged the door was now open for the next generation.

Young Broncos forward Payne Haas.
Young Broncos forward Payne Haas. ©Nathan Hopkins/NRL Photos

"It's hard to lose experience like that and it does leave a hole but it is good for us young blokes," Haas said after Broncos training on Friday.

"There are a lot of spots up for grabs this coming season and a heap of us young blokes here already so at least we have a good opportunity to grab it with both hands.

"Everyone has come back in good nick and are fit at least so there is going to be some good competition. My goal is to play consistent footy, and NRL footy."

Haas will get his first chance in the trials to secure a starting spot against the Storm.

"If that did happen I would be up for it but it is just about taking one step at a time and getting through this pre-season and the trials," Haas said.

"I had a pretty severe shoulder injury but I've come back pretty good. I am 21 weeks post-op now and I'm back fully running with the team.

"It was hard watching the boys play. I made my debut, which was a moment I will cherish forever, then I got a bit unlucky but that is life and they are the challenges you've just got to get through."

Haas said he coped mentally with the long road to recovery due to the close family support network he has at home and at the Broncos.

He has a history of working hard off the field and said a regular routine in the off-season had resulted in him returning to pre-season training in top physical shape.

"Dad is the one who trains me and gets me ready. Usually we do six-kilometre [runs] every Saturday. I've been doing that since I was 14," he said.

"Usually I always blow out during off-season and come back real heavy but I made it a goal to come back in pretty good shape.

"At the moment I am 120kg but hopefully I will be around 118 at the end of pre-season."

Haas has impressed Broncos powerbrokers with his level head, humility and work ethic. He credited Thaiday for helping him understand how to handle himself off the field as much as on it.

His competitive spirit, noted by assistant coach Jason Demetriou after Haas set a cracking pace on day one of pre-season training, is another string to his bow.

"I have always been competing since I was young, whether it's a video game or anything," Haas grinned.

"You've got to compete to try and win."

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