The athletic abilities and endurance of Broncos behemoth Payne Haas are well known but assistant coach Jason Demetriou reckons the key to the teenager's blitzkrieg on the training paddock is his competitive spirit and hatred of losing.
The 120kg giant was the talk of Broncos pre-season training last year and he's backed that up again by blowing his teammates off the park in the early stages of training after making a full recovery from a shoulder injury that cut short his 2018 season.
The first day back at training last Thursday also saw Haas on fire from the get-go and he has continued that form this week as he targets a regular spot in the top 17 in 2019.
Earlier this year NRL.com reported how Haas would win 800m and 1200m races at Keebra Park High, and even blitz the backs, due to his massive cardiovascular system and the regular running training he would do up a hill on the family property on the Gold Coast.
Demetriou said there was another key factor at play in the 18 year-old's stunning training feats asides from his noted physical attributes.
"Payne just hates losing," Demetriou told NRL.com.
"We had a 1.2km run on the first day of training and young Herbie Farnworth, who is a winger, got him in the end. From the time that race finished you could see that Payne wasn't happy.
"The next test we did was the 1.2km shuttle run and you could see he had a mission in his head. He flogged them all, easily. That is just how he is. He is naturally competitive and he wants to be the best. The boys get stuck in to him about it but it is a quality he definitely doesn't want to lose because it will take him a long way."
NRL.com watched Haas closely at training on Wednesday morning and one feature of his performance was how the big prop glided across the ground with apparent ease as he led his teammates in laps around Purtell Park.
"[Conditioner] Andrew Croll was saying that he doesn't have a high knee lift when he runs so when he drills his leg back he's more like a long distance runner than a sprinter and for a 120 kilo bloke it is very impressive that his technique is so good," Demetriou said.
While Haas wants to be the best in everything he does, Demetriou conceded it was up to the club to manage expectations that will continue to surround him.
"He is going to be playing NRL and there are going to be times where he wants to be his best but he's not going to be, because it's hard," Demetriou said.
"Payne will be playing against the best players in the world so it is important he doesn't ride the highs too high and the lows too low, and that we keep him grounded. As long as he keeps that competitive spirit he is going to keep improving every year."
The Broncos played Haas in the Intrust Super Cup with Wynnum-Manly this year before debuting him against South Sydney in round nine where his cameo off the bench was a factor in Brisbane's comeback win. A season-ending injury against the Bulldogs a fortnight later brought down the curtain on his season but Demetriou said Haas was ready to take the next step in his development and play regular NRL footy.
"Last year was all about him having a full pre-season and blooding him through the Queensland Cup and now it is about him getting a spot in the 17, and I am sure he knows that and that Wayne will have a chat to him about that when he gets back," Demetriou said.
"He's definitely ready to go and it is good that he'll be able to do all the trials knowing that he is definitely pushing for a spot. If he goes anywhere near as good as he did last season we'll find it hard not to pick him."