‘Unbelievable’ Haas stars in final Origin audition
Brisbane youngster Payne Haas has almost certainly powered his way into a NSW Origin jersey after another impressive display against the Warriors on Saturday night.
With the Blues team to be unveiled at 6pm on Sunday, the 19-year-old is in line to become the least experienced player picked to play Origin football since Ben Ikin in 1995.
But despite having just 10 NRL games to his name, Haas has already shown he's got what it takes to be one of the game's best forwards.
It was on show at Mt Smart Stadium where he took 20 runs for 204 metres, to go with one tackle break, one offload and 35 tackles - all the while fasting during Ramadan.
It's the second time in as many weeks Haas has run for over 200 metres, while he's surpassed 150 metres on four other occasions this season.
While Haas is likely to earn a bench spot should he be picked, he's got the ability to play long minutes if needed, consistently playing a touch over 60 minutes per week.
He even managed an 80-minute performance against Canberra in Round 6.
"I though Haas was unbelievable," Fox League expert Brett Finch said after the Warriors game.
"He's going to wear a sky blue jersey."
Haas' teammate and fellow Blues hopeful, Matt Lodge, was also a standout performer on Saturday night, churning out 18 runs, 167 metres, 25 tackles, four tackle breaks and two offloads.
Broncos coach Anthony Seibold heaped praise on Lodge post-game.
"Payne has got a fair bit of media, and rightly so for his performances, but I think sometimes 'Lodgey' gets forgotten about," Seibold said.
"He's been a real leader for our pack, probably the entire season in a lot of ways. Sometimes he doesn't get too many pats on the back and I think he's been really good for us.
"He's really developing into a leader and the growth in his game and the growth in his leadership on and off the field has been very good and it's a credit to him.
"There's plenty of good contenders for the Blues, but I'm sure Brad Fittler will consider both of them, but I'm really enjoying seeing what they're doing for us at the moment."
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