New Roo Haas backed to thrive in green and gold
AUSTRALIA'S most-capped Test prop forward Petero Civoniceva has backed Payne Haas to fire in the Kangaroos jersey following his standout season in the NRL.
Haas was on Monday named in Mal Meninga's 19-man Kangaroos squad to play New Zealand and Tonga later this month, capping off a remarkable year at the Broncos.
The 19-year-old will also feature in the Prime Minister's XIII side who arrived in Fiji yesterday ahead of their match against the Pacific Nation on Friday night.
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Civoniceva - who played 45 games for Australia - believes Haas has what it takes to represent his country in the upcoming Test matches.
The former Bronco said the call-up was due recognition for the boom rookie's stellar season.
"I'm very proud to see him get the call up into the Kangaroos squad," Civoniceva said.
"Whenever I talk with former players, we always talk about the impact he has on games.
"He's had such an amazing start to his career and this is a great recognition for his achievements.
"He'll be playing against tried and tested players but I'm sure he will be able to lift for the occasion."
Haas was named this year's Dally M Rookie of the Year, as well as Prop of the Year, following a rollercoaster season with the Broncos.
On Monday, he credited his sensational form to not wanting to let the Broncos down after they continued to support him despite a club-imposed ban for his failure to comply with an NRL integrity unit investigation.
Haas said he knows the pressure will be intense next season to, at the very least, maintain his rampaging form from this year.
"I have seen a lot of guys with second year syndrome and I don't want to be that guy," Haas said.
"Some players I know have gone through it but I don't believe in it. I will work even harder. If I don't keep improving, it's not going to go well for me.
"The day I stop improving will be the day I stop playing rugby league.
"Every year is a new one and obviously I have to keep improving. I just want to be the best I can be.
"The people around me will tell me what I have to work on and my coaches at the Broncos will also tell me. I already have a pretty good idea of what I have to work on.
"Next year is a big year for us - we have to prove a lot of people wrong. We haven't had success at Brisbane for a long time - I think it's 2006 since we won the title. I also don't want to let my family down."
Prime Minister's XIII skipper Wade Graham admitted he was blown away by the skill of boom Broncos rookies Haas and David Fifita
"It's scary to think how young they are," Graham said.
"The sky's the limit for them in rugby league. I look forward to seeing how they progress.
"The talent between David and Payne is unbelievable."