Written by Oliver Kellner-Dunk
Since his debut back in 2018, Payne Haas has been one of the National Rugby League’s most popular players and a crucial part of the Brisbane Broncos side.
In 2019, Haas had a breakout year which resulted in the prop winning the Dally M Rookie of the Year award and making his State of Origin debut for New South Wales.
Throughout the year Haas dominated in both attack and defence, breaking 102 tackles, running for an average of 185 metres per game and making 734 tackles.
Last season the 21-year-old was not held in the same regard due to his Broncos performing abysmally and finishing last on the ladder; however, he was their best player and still displayed exemplary form, and improved in multiple areas despite playing three fewer games than he did in 2019, making 15 more tackles, missing ten less and successfully offloading the ball on nine more occasions.
Following another great individual year, Haas was once again called upon for Origin duties, with 2021 shaping up to be his best season yet.
While the Broncos are not expected to do great, any success the club does have on the field in 2021 will likely be spearheaded by Haas, as he will be further stepping into the role of leader in the young squad, and with the Dally M Medal points system often favouring exceptional players in teams lower down the ladder, Haas will have a very good chance of winning the honour and cementing himself as not only one of the game’s best props, but one of the game’s best players.
Haas is well on the way to becoming a generational talent if he can consistently maintain the level of form he has shown throughout his career thus far, as the greatest players in the history of our game have not relied on one or two seasons of brilliance to create a lasting legacy, but did so through performing at the highest level for their whole career.
Few athletes have had a start to their career as impressive as Haas so it will be interesting to see if he does go on to be one of the greats.