An inspired Payne Haas has declared that Brisbane can go all the way and win the premiership this year after a stunning 24-22 win over the Sharks gave the giant prop and his fellow ‘Baby Broncos’ belief that nothing is impossible.
The 19-year-old prop has also credited the emotion-charged jersey presentation to Broncos debutants Rhys Kennedy, Xavier Coates, Herbie Farnworth and Keenan Palasia at club headquarters on Saturday morning for lighting a fire in him and his teammates.
The Broncos are in 14th position on 14 competition points - two points outside the top eight - and play six of their next nine games at home starting with the Warriors on Saturday night.
"We had a young team against the Sharks and everyone wrote us off during the week. I reckon it was the best win I have been a part of," Haas told NRL.com.
"We had 11 players with under 25 games of NRL experience so to beat a full-strength Sharks team was a special one. It was a really emotional week with all the boys debuting and us getting to know their journeys.
"I believe we can still win the comp. Obviously we haven’t had a good year but that win on Sunday is a good stepping stone. I think we can go on a bit of a run now.
"The Warriors have a big pack and they are desperate for their season as well, so we’ve got to back it up. They will be up for it. We’ll be up for it. It should be a cracker."
The emotion expressed by the four debutants on Saturday was plain to see and the Broncos proudly posted the presentation on their website.
Coach Anthony Seibold presented former Rabbitohs forward Kennedy with his jersey and five-time premiership winner Michael Hancock was on hand to do the same for 18-year-old winger Coates.
Winger Farnworth, just 19, was overcome when his uncle Brian Foley handed him his first Broncos jersey, while rugged back-rower Palasia, recently re-signed by the Broncos after working in a bank, had his mum by his side on his special day.
There were tears of joy, but beneath the outward show of emotion was a steely resolve to get a much-needed win against the odds.
"I watched the video of that two or three times before the game. It gave me goose bumps just watching it," Haas said of the jersey presentation.
"It was pretty special just being there and just to get an understanding of how much the jersey meant to them all.
"Seeing the pride and honour they all have in wearing the Broncos jersey lifted all of us on the weekend and set the tone against the Sharks. With this crew, we all care about each other and mean a lot to each other."
Haas said the Broncos’ future was in good hands with the players who made their NRL debuts.
“Keenan did a pre-season with us on a train and trial but didn’t get a deal, and then he stuck it out with Wynnum,” Haas said.
“He was playing gun footy and just showed perseverance and great character. He has been through hell in his league journey and I was just real happy for him because I played with him through the 20s. It is great to see one of your good mates make his dream a reality.
"Herbie and Xavier are both special talents and I think you will be seeing them in first grade for a long time. That was their first game so imagine what they will do after a few games. I can’t wait to see them grow."
The forward pack lifted for Brisbane against Cronulla with Haas, Matt Lodge and Tevita Pangai jnr all enormous.
"As a young forward pack we have got big shoes to fill here with what the legends have done before us," Haas said.
"We want to build our own legacy. We are the Baby Broncos but us forwards knew we had to lead it. We banded together and said that we had to put our best foot forward and I believe we did that against the Sharks."
Haas, who made his Origin debut for NSW in Origin I this year, said he understood why Brad Fittler did not recall him to the side for the decider at ANZ Stadium on Wednesday night after missing the win in Perth through injury.
"I got a taste but it is hard to come back into a team that wins 38-6 in game two,” Haas chuckled.
"I did my hammie in game one but I didn’t play the best, and they did the job in game two. I can’t wait for Wednesday night and I really hope they get the win."
On a lighter note Haas had a chuckle when asked about his own jersey presentation last year. He said it wasn’t as elaborate as what the players get in 2019, but he wasn’t complaining either.
"They get it pretty special this year," he grinned.
"Wayne [Bennett] gave me my jersey last year and said 'you are debuting'. But I’ll take that any day off Wayne Bennett, so it is all good."