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Broncos boilover: Payne gives Brisbane joy in Sharks upset

They say winning becomes a habit.

And thankfully for NRL battlers Brisbane, prop Payne Haas is starting to get the knack.

Still buzzing from chiming into NSW's State of Origin-clinching game two win, Haas maintained his Midas touch by combining with comeback king Kotoni Staggs to inspire the Broncos' 26-18 NRL upset over Cronulla on Sunday.

All eyes were on Staggs in his first game of the year after recovering from an ACL injury, and the centre didn't disappoint in the five tries to three win that included a double from fullback Tesi Niu.

Staggs ran 107m and finished with two line breaks, four tackle busts and set up a try in a stellar 60 minute effort.

But Haas stole the spotlight at Suncorp Stadium as the Broncos snapped a four-game losing streak to register just their fourth victory of the year.

In attack Haas ran 219m and set up a try but was just as influential in defence, channelling the never-say-die Blues when he ran 80m to knock a Cronulla kick dead and deny a last gasp Sharks try that could have blown the game open yet again.

Payne Haas can do anything!

"That was typical Payne," said Broncos coach Kevin Walters.

The Brisbane mentor said Haas had returned from Blues camp a different player and believed that winning Origin feeling was rubbing off on his Broncos teammates.

"That (Staggs' return) gave us a boost but also Payne with the form that he is in for NSW, that brings lots of energy, class – things that rugby league teams need.

"Playing for NSW has really helped Payne being in that winning environment.

"He is coming out of his shell a bit more. I have noticed since being involved in that side he has come back really confident.

"He is mentoring the guys. We are fortunate to have him."

A thing of beauty from the Broncos

Haas agreed that he had a spring in his step since returning from the Blues and hoped it became contagious at Brisbane.

"I think it is an eye-opener being around guys who are winning a lot, seeing their culture," Haas said of the NSW camp.

"Winning a series like that does do a lot for your confidence."

Staggs said Haas had provided the blueprint for success since returning from NSW.

"First just getting picked for the NSW team is pretty hard," Staggs said.

"It is because of the hard work he does. And coming back from NSW to the Broncos he has set a high standard."

Niu gets the Suncorp faithful up and about

The win was a shot in the arm for Walters who had endured a tumultuous week at Red Hill as new football boss Ben Ikin made his presence felt.

The Broncos lost prop Matt Lodge to the Warriors just days after Walters claimed players "won't be going anywhere" while playmaker Anthony Milford was told his contract would not be renewed next year and Penrith back-rower Kurt Capewell was unveiled as their next big name recruit for next year.

"I am just happy that these guys who have been under a lot of pressure this year," Walters said.

"We have had a re-set and I think every part of our game improved - we are heading in the right direction.

"Are we where we need to be? No. But certainly there are really big improvements.

Payne Haas is everywhere

"I thought we were the better side and deserved the victory. Today was a big day for our club moving forward and they responded the way I expected them to."

The scores were level at 12-all at halftime and 18-all midway through the second stanza before the hosts iced the result with tries by impressive fullback Niu in the 61st minute and Jesse Arthars in the 64th.

"Today really showed what sort of player he is," Walters said of Niu.

"It's now up to him to back it up but I think today we got the best performance we have seen from him."

Press Conference: Broncos v Sharks - Round 16, 2021

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