Haas credits Bennett with keeping him at Broncos
Payne Haas says Wayne Bennett is the reason he stayed at the Brisbane Broncos when he was on the cusp of joining the Melbourne Storm as a teenager.
The respect the NSW Origin prop has for the Dolphins coach will count for nothing when the Broncos clash with their new NRL neighbours at Suncorp Stadium on Friday night in a match up of unbeaten teams.
Haas was cleared for the derby on Sunday when he avoided a charge after being placed on report for a high shot on St George Illawarra forward Michael Molo in the Broncos' 40-18 win on Saturday night.
The 23-year-old is thriving under the guidance of Broncos coach Kevin Walters but when Bennett was at the helm of Brisbane in 2018 Haas had a big choice to make.
"I was legit about to sign the contract that was on the table at the Storm," Haas said.
"Wayne called me at the last minute and made the last pitch to me. Thanks to Wayne I am at Brisbane. I haven't looked back since.
"When he was here he gave me my (NRL) debut. I have got lots of respect for Wayne.
"He was the reason I came to the Broncos. He is a good person. I can't wait to verse him next week."
In 2018 Bennett secured Haas on a six-year extended and upgraded deal until the end of 2024 - money well spent.
Haas was superb against the Dragons and made two huge runs and an offload in the last 10 minutes when the game was on the line. .
Lessons learned from Bennett, before he was sacked as Brisbane coach, have driven Haas's high standards.
"Never get ahead of yourself, always train hard and never think that you are a big shot. He always knew how to humble you," Haas said.
"I just wanted to stay (at the Broncos) for Wayne but that's done now. Now I'm enjoying Kev."
Haas's management asked for a release last year but he is now fully committed to Brisbane.
Walters has got the best out of him and been a rock when Haas has been dealing with challenging times off the field.
"I've got nothing but love for Kev. He's a real good coach and really cares for us," Haas said.
"He has been really good for me, especially when I've had a few things going on. He is always texting me and calling me."
Walters has turned the Broncos around after they claimed the wooden spoon in 2020.
"He's very passionate about this club. It feeds into us boys how passionate he is when he talks about the Broncos," Haas said.
"I feel like it is in us now, just how much the Broncos mean to us."
As for the clash with the Dolphins, Haas just wants one thing.
"We have marked it on our calendar and we really want to win it."