Payne Haas is only at the start of his Rugby League career but the Brydens Lawyers NSW Blues prop has already drawn comparisons to arguably the greatest prop of the modern era and NSWRL Hall of Fame inductee Glenn Lazarus.
Haas was enormous for NSW in the Ampol State of Origin series win this year after coming off the bench for a combined 372 running metres, making 86 tackles and five tackle breaks across all three games.
He has also been a shining light for the Brisbane Broncos in what has been an otherwise difficult season for the club after playing 13 games for 166 average running metres, a tackle efficiency of 97.6 per cent and making 37 tackle breaks.
Speaking on 100% Footy on the Nine network, Broncos coach Kevin Walters said Haas’ consistency reminded him of Lazarus who he won premierships alongside at the Canberra Raiders (1989) and the Broncos (1992-93).
The Broncos are keen to retain Haas and have reportedly tabled a 10-year, $10 million offer.
“There have been some discussions with Payne and the longevity of his career here at the Broncos,” Walters said.
“Obviously he’s been our best player this year and has got so much upside to his game here at the Broncos. He’s a guy you can build a team and a future and a club around given his performances.
“I liken him to Glenn Lazarus, and I played a lot of footy with Glenn Lazarus. He was one of our best players every week if not in the top two or three players every week and Payne has those same qualities at 21 years of age.
“He’s certainly a valuable jewel to us and I’ll leave it up to the decision-makers to make a call on his long term future here but from a coaching point of view he’s a dream to coach and a great guy to have in your side.”
Lazarus, who was inducted into the NSWRL Hall of Fame this year, won five premierships at three different clubs and was part of the Blues team that won three consecutive series for the first time from 1992-94.