It is an astounding progression for a player who had only a sprinkling of NRL appearances on his resume before the start the the season, then proceeded to miss the first month. But Haas has never been a run-of-the-mill recruit.
His blend of power, size, skill and ability to play extended minutes already sets him apart in the front-row ranks and, like his Blues counterpart Brad Fittler, Kangaroos coach Mal Meninga could not resist elevating him straight into a green and gold jumper.
“It’s the highest honour you can get in rugby league, I’m just blessed to be playing. I dreamed about putting on a green and gold jersey. I just can’t wait,” Haas said as the PM’s squad arrived in Brisbane for a brief training stint before flying to Fiji on Tuesday.
“I didn’t expect it. I’d been on holidays, was told I was in and named today. It’s crazy. I’m excited.”
Haas was everything that Brisbane wasn’t this season. He was a consistent, constant force through the middle of the field and began to break games wide open later in the year off his own back. But he said the motivations came from a desire to return the favour to the club after they supported him through his off-field lows.
“It obviously wasn’t the ideal start. I went through some downs but I’ve made up for it. It’s a credit to the Broncos, they’ve made me the person I am now and have really helped me out with everything,” Haas said.
“What I did in the pre-season wasn’t acceptable. I came back in round five and wanted to make it up to him. I went through a rough patch and they put their faith in me. I wanted to repay them. I had a big pre-season, I trained hard and these are the rewards coming out.”
Sharks forward Wade Graham is another who will duplicate roles for the PMs XIII and the Kangaroos, although he said he had a fight to get into an Australian 17 stacked with back-row depth.
“There’s a pretty handy player who plays left edge back-rower for Australia (captain Boyd Cordner). I’ll have a chat to Mal to see what he’s thinking,” Graham said.