The Gold Coast Bulletin

Graham has Haas as top of the props

- ROBERT CRADDOCK PETER BADEL

RUGBY LEAGUE hard man James Graham believes Payne Haas has become the game’s top prop due to a unique twin engine style he brands “phenomenal.”

Graham, the former England, Bulldogs and Dragons enforcer, who played 17 years of top-grade football, feels the young Bronco’s blend of muscle and motor has brought a fresh flavour to the game.

“I think Payne is the best prop in the game,” Fox League pundit Graham said of the 21year-old Haas who has already played four State of Origin games for NSW and two Tests.

“You look at his age and the minutes he plays. Normally props are really powerful or they can go for a long time but he can do both.

“He has a unique style. He is so powerful but he just keeps going. The well-conditione­d guys normally don’t have that power and vice versa.

“Every single week he is an eight or nine out of 10. To do that in a team not on top of their game is phenomenal. It’s a remarkable effort. When he first came through he had a lot of expectatio­n on him which is hard to balance. What he’s been able to do in his short career is incredible.”

Haas, suspended for three games at the start of the season for abusing NSW police, concedes that his off-field conduct needed refinement but is committed to lifting his game.

“There is no sugar-coating it, I haven’t had the best run off the field, so I’ve had to work on myself in that area,” Haas said.

“What I do outside of footy reflects on what I do on the field. I’ve learnt a lot about myself the last few months. I’ve always been confident on the field. Footy is natural to me and that’s not the hard part for me, but I need to work on myself off-field with some things that have happened in my life.”

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