Broncos boosted for Manly showdown
BRONCOS young gun Payne Haas is set to make a swift recovery from an ankle injury to take his place against Manly in the Suncorp Stadium double-header this Saturday night.
Haas was expected to miss up to a month after injuring his ankle against the Bulldogs last week, but the 18-year-old ran strongly at Wednesday's training run at Red Hill.
It was originally feared Haas had suffered a high-ankle sprain, but scans showed he sustained only slight damage to his lateral ankle ligament, giving Broncos medicos confidence he will be fit to face the Sea Eagles.
In a further boost for the Broncos, chief prop Matt Lodge is also likely to play with the rib-cartilage damage he has carried for three weeks.
Lodge ran briefly on Wednesday before finishing training early to avoid contact work.
Broncos prop Korbin Sims said Haas had adjusted to first-grade well and believes the 117kg monster will handle a Manly onslaught in just his third NRL outing.
"Everyone gets targeted as a young kid," Sims said.
"I was targeted at the front end of my career but that was about it.
"I don't know how Payne thrives in big-pressure situations yet but if he does get targeted, he will take care of himself.
"Coming into first grade he is a big body but he is still so young.
"Wayne (Bennett, Broncos coach) is managing him well, he hasn't played him in the first half where the arm wrestle is on.
"He's a fit young kid so coming back from his ankle injury, if he gets it right this week, I'll expect big things from him."
Broncos winger Corey Oates warned Manly's forwards Haas won't hold back if they try to intimidate the hulking Keebra Park product rated the next Petero Civoniceva.
"If they don't get him, he is going to get them," Oates said.
"Payne is just massive, he is so strong, he's a big boy and I just can't wait to see him get angry, he will be a scary man.
"He is a player of the future and I can't wait to see what he can bring for our team.
"He is a great bloke to have in the team, fast and fit and wants to work. You can see the way he goes about his football he wants to cement his spot."
Bennett has pitchforked Kodi Nikorima back into the No.7 jumper with big-name recruit Jack Bird shifting to the centres.
"Kodi is a good halfback but we have Jack there who can play half too," Sims said.
"It just depends on who Wayne thinks could partner Anthony Milford better in the halves. I like Kodi at halfback."