‘You’re witnessing the birth of a superstar’
PAYNE Haas looks exactly that.
Payne in the Haas for defenders.
Payne in the Haas for rival coaches.
Payne in the Haas for whoever has the unenviable task of wrangling enough livestock to feed him.
Built like that kid who could never seem to find his birth certificate in juniors, Haas finally made his hyped NRL debut against South Sydney and didn't disappoint.
Still only 18, the 120kg youngster came into the contest midway through the second half and immediately threw himself into South Sydney like you reckon he might an All-You-Can-Eat buffet.
Wearing jersey No.25, the big fella ran for 86m, made 13 tackles and earned one tackle bust.
Better, the Broncos went with him.
Despite trailing 12-6 at the break, the Queenslanders found another gear in the second half as the Haas announced himself to the NRL.
"Keep watching," Phil Gould said in commentary as the hulking teen once more bent the Bunnies line. "You're witnessing the birth of a superstar."
And just like other births, there was wailing. And tears.
But then with 10 minutes to go, the first Bunnies fans started walking out.
Which represented a stark turnaround to how this game initially seemed headed.
With Greg Inglis celebrating his 250th match, the Redfern boys started strongly and, wonderfully, with a desire to shift the Steeden.
Traditionally, rookie coaches like Anthony Seibold tend to start first grade careers cautiously.
Don't get the sack.
But seemingly keen to use a backline overflowing with potency - and speed - the new Souths mentor has given his side licence to play a little, err, loose.
And in the first 40 minutes, it looked good.
Cody Walker over after just seven minutes (albeit from a Jack Bird clanger). And then Alex Johnston with 21 minutes gone.
That one, courtesy of a brilliant GI moment where, running at speed, he caught the pill, then in one motion managed to stop on a 5c piece, twist his body and offload to the Souths No.1 wrapping around behind him.
But then early in the second half ... well, it appeared as if the Bunnies died.
And then, just when it seemed the Broncos were set to run away with it, Johnny Sutton scored with six minutes to play and, after a conversion, they were back within four.
Still, this was the night Haas arrived.
Of the current crop of Brisbane Broncos, only Sam Thaiday (18 years and 29 days) and Dave Taylor (17 years and 337 days) have debuted younger.
Which may explain why Broncos coach Wayne Bennett has been fiercely protective of Haas, blooding the Keebra Park High product in the Intrust Super Cup with Wynnum-Manly this season.
Yet this was a bloke who was never going to stay hidden for long.
Of course, the Broncos were also incredibly well served by Tevita Pengai Jnr (131m), Korbin Sims (118m) and Alex Glenn (174m). Utility Kodi Nikorima also making an incredible difference after coming into the game.
But still, the guy most NRL coaches will have noticed from this one wore jersey No.25.
The fella who proved South Sydney's Payne in the Haas.