Broncos prop Payne Haas will target New South Wales Origin representatives David Klemmer and Daniel Saifiti in a timely Origin audition as Brisbane set out to overturn a horrible away record in Newcastle on Saturday.
The Broncos’ only two 'away' wins this season have come in Auckland and in Brisbane for Magic Round, their record in NSW reading a disastrous 0-3 with a combined for-and-against of 20-112, the most recent a 38-10 hiding at the hands of the Eels.
The horrendous away record has been blamed largely on slow starts, making the assignment facing Brisbane’s forwards even more important as Newcastle prepare to welcome back both Klemmer and former Maroons representative Aidan Guerra.
An Origin debutant in the Blues’ 18-14 loss to Queensland in Game One, Haas was ruled out of Origin II with a hamstring strain but knows he has the perfect platform from which to impress NSW coach Brad Fittler.
"That's the plan,” Haas said somewhat ominously.
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“Obviously this week I've got Daniel Saifiti and David Klemmer's probably back so two Origin props, I've got to put on a statement.
"Obviously they're two props who are in form at the moment so it's a pretty big game for all of us forwards in the middle.
"I can't wait for it.”
Refreshed from the week off and declaring his hamstring 100 per cent, Haas admitted that Brisbane’s record of just two wins from seven away games this season has been a topic of discussion at Red Hill.
"Obviously we have spoken about that. Away games we haven't started well,” he said.
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“We've been blown off the park a bit early so that's something we've got to fix against the Knights.
“We've just got to start faster and I think we'll be all right.
"It's basically do or die for us from now on. It's a big game for us and a big occasion, especially in front of a full Knights crowd.”
The mouth-watering match-up of the middles even comes with a dose of history as Tevita Pangai jnr prepares to lock horns again with Daniel – and possibly Jacob – Saifiti.
Playing his junior footy alongside Knights forward Sione Mata’utia at South Newcastle, Pangai engaged in plenty of ferocious battles with the Saifiti twins playing for The Entrance Tigers.
"I versed them in junior footy down in Newcastle. They're from Central Coast so they were always pretty fiery clashes. They were always good coming up in the junior ranks,” Pangai recalled.
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"It was always the Saifiti brothers versus me and Sione Mata'utia. They were always a good team and always competitive.
"I've always rated Daniel highly. He's had great form at the start of the season so I wasn't surprised [he was selected for NSW].
“He played well against the Roosters and again against South Sydney. He deserved that.
"The players you play with and against in rep footy, you always come back pretty confident so I'm sure he'll be the same.”