2020 has been hard on most but for Broncos and NSW forward Payne Haas, it has been a particularly heartbreaking year.
As well as the disappointment of a wooden spoon with Brisbane in the NRL and a State of Origin defeat with the Blues, Haas had to endure the devastating tragedy of losing his brother.
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The 20-year-old's big brother Chace - who was left as a quadriplegic from a car crash when he was five months old - died in August this year, aged just 22.
The pair were incredibly close and Haas admits that his brother's death has taken a heavy emotional toll on his family.
However, Haas' girlfriend Leilani Mohenoa has announced that they are expecting a baby girl - making reference to Chace in a heartwarming post on social media.
“We lost an angel but he sent us another that same month. Baby girl due in May," Mohenoa posted on Instagram with a photo of the ultrasound.
“Can’t wait to meet our baby girl,” Haas added on his page.
The wonderful news will hopefully give Haas something to smile about after the heartbreak of losing his older brother.
“I love you forever my best friend, my role model but most importantly my big brother," Haas wrote in August.
“I love you forever my best friend, my role model but most importantly my big brother" ❤️
Brisbane Broncos star Payne Haas has posted a beautiful tribute to his brother Chace, who died aged 22 >>> https://t.co/lylDK2lqMk pic.twitter.com/HjEAclx8rU
— Fox League (@FOXNRL) August 20, 2020
"Going to miss our banter and seeing your big smile whenever I come home to see you but I know you’re going to be watching over all of us every step of the way.
“Thanks for being there for me when no one else was, I’m going to carry your name with me everywhere I go I did this for you before this happened and I’m going to keep doing this for you.
“Staunchest person I’ve ever met I’m missing you already honestly, Ride or Die my Hitta I’ll see you soon.”
NSW star playing Origin for late brother
Haas admitted during the Origin series that he was playing for his late brother, who he used to grow up watching the interstate series with in their lounge room.
He revealed that the impact of Chace's death was heavy on his parents, 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.
https://t.co/rrhBRsclDj "Payne Haas posts heartfelt farewell to 'role model, big brother' Chace"
— r/NRL (@r_NRL) August 20, 2020
"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 helped his mother Joan.
He was barely 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.
"It's made her happy and has put a smile on her face. I'm just glad she is happy."
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