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'Once in a lifetime player': Haas inspired by Taumalolo

Payne Haas is locked into a long-term contract with the Broncos but has vowed to never get complacent as he draws on the shining example of Cowboys lock Jason Taumalolo.

Last year Haas signed a five-year extension with the Broncos that will keep him at Red Hill until the end of 2024.

In March of 2017 Taumalolo famously inked a 10-year deal with the North Queensland Cowboys. Since signing that deal the Tongan international has led the Cowboys to a grand final, won the Dally M lock of the year in 2018 and received the Paul Bowman Medal as the Cowboys’ best player in 2017 and 2018.

Haas, who will start at prop in his 22nd NRL game against the Eels at Suncorp Stadium on Friday night, told that Taumalolo’s ethos is one he wants to emulate as sets his sights on ending the Broncos' 13-year premiership drought.

"Jason wants to be the best every week and he doesn’t get complacent. I think everyone can take a lot away from how consistent he is," Haas said.

"You see people sign long-term deals and they can drop off a bit but he hasn’t dropped off on anything. He is probably the best forward in the game at the moment - a once in a lifetime player.

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"When I watch the best forwards in the game like Jason their bad games are not far off their best, so I have been trying to take a leaf out of his book.

"He won a premiership and signed for 10 years but wasn’t content with that. He is still killing it and runs 200 metres a game.

"I am not here just for a contract. The Broncos fans deserve a lot. I know we have a premiership drought and that is what drives me.

"When we do win a premiership I am not going to stop. I will want to keep winning. When I signed here I knew we were a powerhouse and we’ve got to get back to that."

Haas has been backing up his declaration to never be satisfied with what he did the previous week.

In his 18 Telstra Premiership games this year Haas has run for more than 200 metres on eight occasions, including in six of his last seven matches. Throw in the 30-plus tackles he regularly makes each game and the game-breaking plays, such as his 40-metre try against Penrith in round 22, and it is clear Haas is not your average 19-year-old prop.

Last week columnist Steve Renouf said Haas was the best prop he had seen since Glenn Lazarus and predicted he would dominate for the next decade. Haas appreciated the wrap but his humility came to the fore when told of the accolade.

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"I just want to clear one thing up. I don’t think I should be compared to Lazarus. He is the greatest prop of all time and I don’t think I am anywhere near him," Haas said with respect.

Haas has a burning desire to play finals football for the first time as a Bronco. He was in rehab last year when the Broncos were smashed 48-18 by the Dragons in week one of the finals series.

"I’d had my [shoulder] reco’ and I went home after doing some training and watched it there. It was painful to watch," he said.

"Finals footy is something I want to try out so if we make it I’ll be busting for it. I can’t wait."

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To get there the eighth-placed Broncos must beat an Eels side that boasts plenty of game breakers, including forwards Junior Paulo and Manu Ma’u, who Haas rates highly.

"Those two boys are damaging ball runners. Manu had a freak of a game the other week and Paulo is a big boy who just does his work," Haas said.

"Last time we played the Eels he put a bit of a clinic on us. Their forward pack works real well together and are real aggressive. We have to be up for the challenge. If we dip the toe in we’ll get touched up. We have to be fully into it."


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