Glenn Lazarus has backed Payne Haas to become the first Broncos forward to run for 300 metres in a game, declaring that the 20-year-old prop "could be anything".
Cowboys superstar Jason Taumalolo set a new mark as a forward with a staggering 345 metres in Thursday night's win over the Bulldogs. It's the second time he's passed the 300-metre barrier.
Only three forwards in NRL history have achieved the landmark with Taumalolo (311 metres and 345 metres), Steve Price (323 metres) and Paul Gallen (302 metres) heading the list.
Haas, who will line up for the Broncos against the Rabbitohs on Friday night, made more than 150 metres in the first half of the trial against the Titans this year before being brought off early in the second half.
He ran for 200 metres or more on 10 occasions last year.
Lazarus, named in the NSW Team of the Century in 2008, said the next mark of 300 metres was now in sight.
"It is only a matter of time. If he plays 80 minutes and gets a particular game played in a particular way there is no way they will prevent him getting to 300 metres," five-time premiership winner Lazarus told NRL.com.
"One, he will play the minutes to do that so he will have the time.
"Secondly, the way we defend these days I think there is certainly avenues to run more post-contact metres.
"Payne is so strong and if he is playing long minutes he is obviously fit, so he'll be able to do that workload.
"As far as I understand it, these days it is all about getting the team to a certain position on the field and he not only does that, he makes metres doing it."
Haas, who was Dally M prop of the year in 2019 on the way to representing NSW and Australia, said he used to watch old videos of Lazarus in action for the Broncos with his father when he was a lad.
It turns out that Lazarus was also Haas's "special subject" when he was at school at Keebra Park High, as head coach Glen Campbell explained.
"Boys of a young age like Payne always have heroes that they look up to, and we would analyse areas of the game that their idols were good at and how we could bring those facets to their games to improve them in the development years," Campbell told NRL.com.
"Payne looked up to Glenn Lazarus so I spoke to him about how much success Lazarus had wherever he went – whether that be Canberra, Brisbane or Melbourne – and how it was always on the back of the attitude he had in the engine room.
"Lazarus would always put himself on the ball and was a star because of his massive work rate. I said to Payne ‘with your engine you can play big minutes but you can’t be a passenger. Like Lazarus you need to put yourself on the ball and work hard'. That is what he has done."
NRL.com told Lazarus of the interest Haas has taken in his career.
"I am very flattered obviously but the season he had last year was amazing," Lazarus said.
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"He started off his career in 2018 a bit shaky with a [shoulder] injury but last year Payne and Josh Papalii were the best front-rowers each week.
"I love the fact that Payne plays big minutes. It is an area that has been lost in a lot of areas of football. These class players have got to be on the field for as long as possible to enact their craft. Some aren't capable of it, but Haas is.
"I quiz people about young front-rowers coming through and I was told Haas worked really hard last year in the pre-season and that shone through in his performances. I just feel as though he can be anything."
Lazarus said he loved the way Haas also went about his business.
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"David Fifita is a great player but give me a front-rower like Haas any day," he said.
"You don't see him carry on with any rubbish. He doesn't elbow people in the head or do cheap shots. It is no nonsense and that is what I modelled my game on.
"Haas doesn't have to act tough. He is tough, and that is where you earn the most respect."
Haas was awarded three Dally M points for his performance in the 28-21 win over the Cowboys last Friday night.
Just this week Broncos coach Anthony Seibold said Haas was not satisfied with what he had achieved.
"He wants you to challenge him with things and give him areas that he needs to be better with in his game. That is what motivates him," Seibold said.
"Some people like to hear what they are doing well but Payno is not one of those guys. I set him a challenge of being consistent like Jesse Bromwich and [Jared-Waerea] Hargreaves.
"That is the challenge, for Payno to be consistent, and I thought he made a good start on Friday night."