16th March 2020, 12:30 | International
Payne Haas made his Test debut for Australia against New Zealand at the end of last season and given the way he has started the 2020 NRL premiership the Broncos prop appears destined to experience his first Kangaroo tour before turning 21.
The 20-year-old led Brisbane to a stunning 28-21 defeat of North Queensland to spoil opening night celebrations for the Cowboys at their new stadium in Townsville and reinforce the Broncos premiership claims.
Haas, who credits his remarkable stamina to gruelling training sessions as a teenager with his Swiss father Gregor, played the full 80 minutes for a Brisbane side missing injured captain Alex Glenn, prop Matt Lodge and utility Jack Bird.
His performance included 19 runs for 213 metres, seven tackle breaks and 33 tackles as he engaged in a battle with North Queensland superstar Jason Taumalo.
Broncos second-rower David Fifita also pushed his claims for a berth on the end of season Kangaroos tour after scoring a 70-metre individual try that sealed victory for his team.
Australia coach Mal Meninga is already a huge fan of Fifita, who played for the Prime Minister’s XIII against Fiji and the Junior Kangaroos team that thumped France at the end of last season.
The recently turned 20-year-old received the ball flat footed on his own 30-metre line and accelerated between two defenders, pushed off another and side-stepped Cowboys fullback Valentine Holmes before out four chasers to score.
The match was Holmes first in the NRL since returning from a 12-month NFL stint and he had a mixed night, scoring a try but making some defensive errors.
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