Titans hooker Nathan Peats is confident of overcoming a slow start to retain his place in the NSW Origin team. Photo: Jono Searle
Titans hooker Nathan Peats is confident of overcoming a slow start to retain his place in the NSW Origin team. Photo: Jono Searle

‘F--ing shocker’: 80 minutes that could haunt Origin hopeful

TITANS hooker Nathan Peats is confident he has the time to overcome the mental demons that contributed to the worst game of his career - and prove he deserves to retain his Origin jersey.

The unfailingly honest Peats told foxsports.com.au his performance in round one against the Raiders was "a f---ing shocker" and that he not only wanted to make amends to his club coach Garth Brennan, but also prove a point to NSW coach Brad Fittler.

Despite making his Origin debut for the Blues in game one of last year's series and going on to play all three matches, Peats is already facing stiff competition to hang on to his No.9 jersey.

Apisai Koroisau and Cameron McInnes have started the season in impressive style for the Sea Eagles and Dragons respectively, but Peats says that as his confidence grows, his performances will get back to the standard he expects.

"Round one was the worst game of my career and I've been playing for eight years now," Peats said.

"I had a f---ing shocker, to be honest, defensively. I think I'm past it (that slumn) now and getting better and better, defensively anyway.

"It's obviously been a slow start on my behalf and from a team's perspective.

"We've still got a good seven or eight games before the (NSW) team gets picked and I feel like I can build towards that and hopefully peak at the right time.

"I've still got a lot of work to do, but I think I can do it."

Despite off-season shoulder surgery, Peats was one of the leaders in pre-season fitness drills, but it was his mental strength that was given the greatest test.

Nathan Peats played all three games for NSW in last year’s Origin series. Photo: Dave Hunt
Nathan Peats played all three games for NSW in last year’s Origin series. Photo: Dave Hunt

Having not participated in any contact drills until two weeks before the start of the season, the 27-year-old believes that  disrupted preparation played a major part in his self-described substandard display in round one.

"I was very disappointed but I was thinking about my shoulder too much," Peats admitted.

"I let Garth (Brennan, Titans coach) down round one, but hopefully I can build on that and gain his trust and keep working on playing well for the team.

"I had a chat to my old man and Garth and they said to either block it out or don't play.

"I feel as though the last two weeks I've been pretty solid in the middle and hitting pretty well.

"My wrestle's getting a lot better so hopefully I can just keep improving on that week in and week out.

"I've never had a shoulder issue before so it was more mental demons than anything.

"I've done serious injuries in my time but this one took a bit longer than I expected and I'm still gaining that confidence."

The one criticism of Peats in his maiden Origin series was that he didn't offer the Blues a great deal in attack, an aspect of his game he wants to bring back to the fore in 2018.

In the first two games of the year, Peats had just two runs from dummy half for a total of 16m, yet despite the lopsided scoreline against the Dragons last Sunday the Titans No.9 had five runs around the ruck for a total of 58m.

"I need to bring my running game back in, which I haven't had in a while," Peats said.

"I don't think I was much of a runner last year and there are a lot of blokes like Phil Sami and Dale Copley who are finding their front a lot and really sparking our attack.

"On the weekend I felt as though I jumped on the back of that and I'm starting to run.

"That's my goal this year, to run a bit more and not so much work in the middle."



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