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Rugby League

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Haas and Lodge pass final Origin audition

The clamour for two Brisbane Broncos props to lead the Blues into State of Origin battle has been endorsed by Anthony Seibold after Payne Haas and Matt Lodge's latest destructive display.

Coach Seibold was in awe of Haas after another powerhouse outing but saved a special mention for Lodge after the Broncos shut down the Warriors 8-2 in an NRL war of attrition in Auckland on Saturday.

The 19-year-old has captured all the attention only 10 games into his first grade career and looks set to be unveiled as the least experienced Origin debutant since Ben Ikin in 1995.

Ahead of the Blues squad announcement on Sunday, Seibold said Brad Fittler will have been equally impressed with man mountain Lodge, whose hefty metres run and tackle count are marginally behind Haas, primarily because he plays less minutes.

"Payne has got a fair bit of media and rightly so for his performances but I think sometimes Lodgy gets forgotten about," Seibold said.

"He's been a real leader for our pack, probably for the entire season in a lot of ways.

"Obviously there's plenty of good contenders there for the Blues. I'm sure Brad Fittler will consider both of them.

"I'm really enjoying seeing what they're doing for us at the moment. They're leading our team through the middle of the park."

The Broncos feature a swag of Queensland near certainties and fringe candidates.

In the latter category is five-eighth Anthony Milford, who broke the 2-2 halftime deadlock with the game's decisive try at Mount Smart Stadium.

Seibold wouldn't attribute Brisbane's improved form to the looming Origin series, saying representative honours is rarely a topic of open conversation at Red Hill.

"I'm sure they've all got certain goals that they want to achieve" Seibold said.

"One of those, I'd imagine, for just about every player, is to play high-level football. But we don't talk about it internally, it's not a motivator for us as a team."

Brisbane's three straight wins have been founded on defence, with Siebold ecstatic they haven't conceded a try in their last 153 minutes against two dangerous outfits.

"We've been really good defensively. We've needed to be because the Roosters and Warriors have got so many weapons that they throw at you."

--End of article--

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