Brisbane enforcer Korbin Sims has predicted big things from Andrew Fifita "clone" Payne Haas after the youngster's impressive NRL pre-season training start.
At 194cm and 120kg by the age of 17, big things were always expected from emerging Brisbane forward Payne Haas.
But Broncos enforcer Korbin Sims admits he was still surprised by Haas' progress at pre-season training, predicting a breakout 2018 NRL season for the teenager who has already earned Andrew Fifita comparisons.
All eyes were supposed to be on Sims when he returned to Broncos training this week as he recovers from a broken arm that sabotaged his NRL finals and Rugby League World Cup campaign with Fiji.
Sims is expected to step up in the absence of inspirational Kiwi front-rower Adam Blair who has linked with the Warriors next season.
The Broncos pack will also be without Herman Ese'ese (Newcastle), Jai Arrow (Gold Coast) and Francis Molo (released) in 2018.
However, tongues were wagging instead over Haas who turned 18 last weekend.
Sims said he had been blown away by the giant teenager's barnstorming pre-season training start.
"Payne Haas, gees, everyone is taking about him," Sims told the Broncos website.
"He is training the house down.
"I came in and tested with him last week and he absolutely smashed the times.
"He's a big human but only a young kid - he has got a lot of potential."
Ex-Australian Schoolboy prop Haas was considered the country's hottest under-18 forward prospect and had the pick of 10 NRL clubs plus NFL interest when he emerged from Gold Coast league nursery Keebra Park High and signed with the Broncos at 16.
He impressed in the Broncos Under 20s this year, even being called in to act as a Fifita "clone" at a Queensland State of Origin opposed training session before game three.
Sims hoped the spark provided by the likes of Haas would help ensure Brisbane did not suffer another slow season start in 2018.
The Broncos lost three of their first five games before regrouping and finishing third in the regular season, later bowing out in a preliminary final loss to eventual premiers Melbourne.
"That's something we want to rectify. We started the year with a mixed bag, then we found our stride and got into a groove," Sims said of their 2017 start.
"We have got a goal. We missed out last year (on final) but came really close.
"Depending on how our pre-season goes we will hopefully go one better next year."