How important are these two to Brisbane already? Photo: Adam Head
How important are these two to Brisbane already? Photo: Adam Head

The raw power that can upset the odds

Brisbane's "Bash Brothers" David Fifita and Payne Haas have been hailed as the young guns who can spearhead the Broncos' against-the-odds title charge - starting against the Eels.

The towering teenagers are preparing for one of the biggest challenges of their embryonic NRL careers when they confront Parramatta in a blockbuster do-or-die elimination final at Bankwest Stadium.

The 19-year-olds boast a combined 11 tries between them this year, with Fox Sports Lab statistics showing Haas' averages a staggering 180 metres per game, while Fifita has a mark of 131m with 13 tackle busts in his past three games.

 

How important are these two to Brisbane already? Photo: Adam Head
How important are these two to Brisbane already? Photo: Adam Head

 

Haas and Fifita face respective duels with Parramatta's 123kg prop Junior Paulo and dangerous back-rower Shaun Lane as they attempt to keep eighth-placed Brisbane's season alive for another week.

The dynamic duo have barnstormed their way into such spectacular form this year even future NRL Immortals have been left in awe of their ability.

Queensland legends Billy Slater and Johnathan Thurston have declared Haas and Fifita as the go-to weapons in Sunday's sudden-death affair and warned the Eels the powerhouse pair can get even better.

 

This kid is only going to get harder to stop. Photo: AAP Image/Darren England
This kid is only going to get harder to stop. Photo: AAP Image/Darren England

 

"Payne at 19 years old, he is scary, seriously," Slater said.

"He is one of the best front rowers in the game and he's still a teenager.

"He's going to find it harder - teams will work out what he likes to do and defend it better, but he is at you all the time and he has that motor to consistently put pressure on you.

"I've been super impressed with him and David Fifita as well. They will both evolve, too.

"Their timing on attacking shape and their intensity when they don't get the ball is going to get better.

"Sometimes we forget they are 19 years old and which player is doing everything perfect at that age, I can't think of anyone.

"Although they are doing a great job now, they are going to get better as they mature."

 

Fifita can tear a hole in Parramatta. Photo: Jono Searle/Getty Images
Fifita can tear a hole in Parramatta. Photo: Jono Searle/Getty Images

Premiership-winning Cowboys champion Thurston likened Fifita to his former wrecking-ball teammate Jason Taumalolo, who became the first NRL forward to run for more than 5000 metres in a season in 2017.

"Fifita has had an outstanding year," Thurston said.

"He still has some 'kid efforts' in him but he is a game breaker, he is like Jason Taumalolo where he takes three or four blokes to put him down.

"If he can get a late offload against the Eels, it will break the defence up."

Fifita, off-contract next year, is in talks with the club to remain at Red Hill for 2020 and beyond, while Haas last year re-signed with the club on six-year, $3 million deal.

 

Even if they fail on Sunday, the future is very bright. Photo: AAP Image/Darren England
Even if they fail on Sunday, the future is very bright. Photo: AAP Image/Darren England

 

Thurston said the future NRL forward's body shape will be modelled on the likes of Fifita and Haas.

"It's scary to think where Dave and Payne Haas will be in a few years," Thurston said.

"I haven't seen someone of Haas' size and how athletic he is; you just don't see it in front rowers.

"Once the interchange goes from eight to six, he will be the prototype prop in the NRL."

Brisbane's senior prop Matt Lodge said the pair inspired the rest of the team to be better.

"Dave Fifita and Payne are playing out of their skin," Lodge said.

"You want to be on the same level as them, they make players around them better and that's what the good players do.

"At training it blows us away what they can do."

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