The strength and endurance of Broncos prop Payne Haas is now well known but the 19-year-old says one thing that isn’t relates to his under-11 national record in shot put where he beat a record once held by Jamal Idris.
Haas has regularly come up with match-winning plays late in games, such as his 40-metre try against the Panthers in round 23 where he brushed aside James Tamou and Viliame Kikau. That effort showcased his power.
The shot put record that Haas broke still makes him chuckle eight years later.
“It is one thing people probably don’t know about me. In the under 11s I got the Australian record in shot put. It was Jamal Idris’s at the time,” Haas told NRL.com.
“I was doing little athletics at Newcastle at the time. My dad was a hurdler and just wanted me to see what I could do in shot put.”
Haas said he could have pursued the sport but rugby league drew his interest.
“I am more into team sports and I love footy too much,” he grinned.
His coach at Keebra Park High School, Glen Campbell, recalls his former pupil's ability to shine in shot put and the 800 metres races.
“He could have gone a long way with shot put. I couldn’t say he would have made the Olympics but he may have because he is built for it and has the training ethic,” Campbell told NRL.com.
“His engine is so big he won school distance runs at district level. I remember one occasion when he was lining up in the 800-metre race against kids built like rakes.
"They were looking at this 114-kilo kid standing beside them and saying ‘what’s going on?’ One of the officials came up to Payne and said ‘you realise this is the 800’ and he said ‘yeah’ and went out and won.
“He never went further with it because of his football commitments.”
Haas is super competitive and said he had a crack at the 800 metres because there were those who doubted he could do it.
“I did the 800-metre run at districts for school. I think I saw it as more of a challenge after all these people said I couldn’t do it. I just thought I’d go hard and see how I went,” he said.
At training in the pre-season Haas was doing shuttle runs where he would turn and pick up a yard on his teammates like swimmers who have a great turn off the wall at the end of a lap.
Haas has thrived under new coach Anthony Seibold and has now clocked up more than 200 metres in seven of his 19 games this season.
Last week in the 17-16 golden point win over the Eels he played the full 82 minutes due largely to the Broncos being without the suspended Tevita Pangai jnr and injured Joe Ofahengaue.
Seibold said he had found the right formula for Haas, who has mostly played around 60 minutes this year.
“He has been playing 60 minutes week in and week out and that is what we feel is his best time,” Seibold said.
“He would actually like to play more minutes. We don’t want to cook him but playing the first 30 minutes and the last 30 minutes is really working for us and we think he has been by far our most consistent performer.”
Haas will start against the Bulldogs on Saturday night at ANZ Stadium where a win will assure the Broncos of seventh position on the ladder and a first up finals clash with the Eels or Sea Eagles in Sydney.