Haas can’t wait for Broncos battle to begin
Broncos giant Payne Haas has declared he is ready to rumble against the NRL's star forwards as he prepares to have a target on his head in 2019.
Haas returned to the field for the first time in 280 days in Brisbane's 42-0 trial defeat of Souths-Logan in Warwick on Saturday night.
It was the teenager's first hitout since undergoing a shoulder reconstruction in May last year, which ended his rookie NRL season after only three games.
Haas, 19, is the Broncos' most hyped talent of the past decade, earning comparisons to North Queensland's Dally M champion Jason Taumalolo.
Those raps have made Haas a target for rival players looking to dominate the highly-rated youngster, who was set upon in every NRL game he played last year.
NSW Origin enforcer David Klemmer and Manly hitman Martin Taupau both gave Haas a brutal introduction to first grade last season.
But Haas is not one to be intimidated, declaring he is ready for front-row fireworks this season.
"I'm ready for it," Haas said in his first interview since returning from injury.
"Last year I found out the hard way as a young guy, but that's all part of the experience and my learning as a young forward.
"But this year I'm older and a little more mature. I can't wait for the battles.
"Hopefully I'm in the team for Round 1."
If Haas's efforts against the Magpies are anything to go by, he will be in new coach Anthony Seibold's best 17 for Brisbane's NRL season-opener against Melbourne on March 14.
The 194cm weapon terrorised the part-time Magpies, scoring a try, skittling defenders and playing extended minutes to improve his match fitness after a lengthy lay-off.
Haas has trimmed down to an imposing 117kg and despite his size, he is remarkably one of the fittest players at Red Hill.
"It was really good, it's a relief to be back," Haas said.
"It felt good to again to knock out some minutes, it was good for my match fitness.
"I've actually trimmed a bit, I've lost a couple of kilos. I'm 117kg at the moment so I'm happy with that and feeling good.
"It was a good all round performance."
Haas appears certain to nab a bench spot for the Broncos to start the NRL season, working in a front-row rotation with Matt Lodge and Joe Ofahengaue.
Seibold's assistant Kurt Richards, who held the clipboard in the Warwick trial, said Haas was shaping up well for 2019.
"Payne was really good, he got us to the parts of the field we needed to get to," he said.
"You look at those bench spots, particularly spots 16 and 17 on the bench, we are looking for the young guys to put their hand up and the biggest thing is having people you can trust.
"The guys have to show they can compete at this level."
The Broncos will face Wynnum-Manly in a trial at Kougari Oval on Saturday night.
Seibold is expected to roll out some of his more experienced players against the Seagulls, before fielding close to his best team in the final trial against Gold Coast at Cbus Super Stadium on Saturday week.
Every game of every round of the NRL Telstra Premiership LIVE with no ad-breaks during play. SIGN UP NOW!