Origin relief for Haas and his family

Scott Bailey
·3-min read

The family of Payne Haas will be close to the only NSW fans in a packed Suncorp Stadium for the State of Origin series decider.

And after the year that's been, they deserve the little reward.

As Queensland residents, the Haas family are able to attend Wednesday night's game, which doubles as the first full-capacity match in Australia since March.

Cody Walker's family will also be able to travel up from Casino, while thereis expected to be other small groups of Blues fans from outside Sydney able to cross the border.

This year's Origin campaign has already meant a little more to Haas after the death of his brother Chace in August.

He has spoken about how he is playing for his late brother, with the pair having grown up watching Origin together in their lounge room.

But the impact on his family has been just as great, with Haas still carrying the hurt from afar while in the NRL's bubble.

"They're a lot better now, for mum and dad it was tough on them," Haas said.

"But especially with Origin on it's been good to see them smiling and happy in what has been a really tough year.

"I know how tough they've done it.

"I can't wait to get home with them and just spend time with everyone."

Haas noted how Origin has helped his mother Joan.

He has barely been able to see his family in recent months, due to COVID-19 restrictions, but for a brief period between the end of the regular season and Origin camp.

"Chace was everything to her," Haas said.

"Me playing Origin, and this game at Suncorp that everyone can go to, me playing this game has been really good for her.

"I'm pretty sure they'll be the only Blues fans there.

"It's made her happy and has put a smile on her face. I'm just glad she is happy."

On the field, the 20-year-old Haas insists there is still plenty of fuel left in the tank.

He averaged more minutes than any other prop in the NRL this year as he regularly went the full distance for Brisbane.

His year has now extended into mid-November for the first time, having been returned to the NSW starting side after coming off the bench for Game I.

"We have recovered pretty well and mentally we're alright," Haas said.

"It's pretty tough on the body the next few games after a game but before you play you feel pretty good."

Fellow starting prop Daniel Saifiti, meanwhile, has spent more time on the park than any other prop in this year's series, including a monster 56 minutes in Adelaide.

After increasing his workload for Newcastle this year, he was adamant there was still plenty to give.

"We've been taking a bit of training off to make it a bit shorter, but we're good" Saifiti said.