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Healing the Payne: Origin helps Haas family through grieving period

Payne Haas says his efforts in sky blue have helped his family through the grieving process for his brother, Chace, with the clan to provide a rare sliver of NSW support at a packed Suncorp Stadium.

Coming into the rescheduled 2020 series Haas declared he would be playing to honour his older brother, who died in August having been a ventilated quadriplegic since a car accident when he was five months old.

The NSW prop's first name was chosen by his parents after that 1999 accident to reflect "the pain and suffering I felt" as Haas matriarch Joan told NRL.com last year's before her son's Origin debut.

Haas has often spoke of his NRL journey being made to honour the special bond he had with Chace.

His performances throughout the latest Origin campaign - with the Blues now 80 minutes away from securing a rare three-peat of series wins - have also given his parents Joan and Gregor cause for celebration in the most difficult of years.

"They're a lot better now, for Mum and Dad it was tough on them," Haas said of his proud folks.

Payne and Chace Haas as small children.
Payne and Chace Haas as small children. ©Haas family collection

"But especially with Origin on it's been good to see them smiling and happy in what has been a really tough year. I know how tough they've done it.

"I think it's been really good for Mum. Chace was everything to her.

"Me playing Origin, and this game at Suncorp that everyone can go to, me playing this game has been really good for her.

"It's made her happy and has put a smile on her face. For me, that makes me grateful and I can't wait to make her proud."

Haas's parents, his partner and all 10 of his siblings will be at Suncorp on Wednesday, watching from a corporate box among the expected 50,000-strong crowd.

It will be their first Origin at the famed Queensland stronghold with Haas on the paddock.

Last year the family opted to watch his Blues debut from their Gold Coast home, wary of emotions boiling over.

The interstate games have always held a particularly strong place in the Haas household, with Chace telling NRL.com his brother's Blues debut would mean more to him than Payne at the time.

The Haas siblings rallied around Chace following the accident.
The Haas siblings rallied around Chace following the accident. ©Haas family collection

"When he said he was going to play for the Blues … It means everything to me," Chace said while wearing a sky-blue jersey and scarf.

"More than to him. I was very emotional to hear it. I'm blue to the bones. Always have been, always will be."

In 2020 COVID-19 restrictions have been particularly tough on Haas's family, with the young Broncos prop around far less than a normal year due to NRL biosecurity protocols.

When Chace's condition in hospital deteriorated dramatically in August, Payne was given an NRL exemption to leave Brisbane's bubble to visit his brother before he died.

Haas also took compassionate leave to be with his family before reporting for NSW camp in late October.

Chace and Payne Haas have shared an inseparable bond.
Chace and Payne Haas have shared an inseparable bond. ©Haas family collection

But after one last outing for 2020 on Wednesday, and the chance to put the biggest smile of all on Mum's face, the Haas clan will come together once more for good.

"I can't wait to get home with them and just spend time with everyone," Haas said.

"I haven't got to see them and spend a real big amount of time, I can't wait to get home for good, see my siblings and parents all together."

 

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