Angry Peats to skip All Stars and Nines
It's not exactly uncommon for rugby league hacks to upset the game's most prized assets on the best of days, whether they're genuinely at fault or not.
But not even the relative security of November could prevent this one from releasing the pressure valve that's been emanating from Eels hooker Nathan Peats since undergoing twin surgeries on his shoulder and knee back in May.
"Obviously I haven't played in a while so I don't want to talk it up, I'm really just looking forward to playing footy. I've never not played footy in my life. It's starting to get to me," Peats told NRL.com.
"I'm getting angry about it, to be honest. It's been long. I'm getting frustrated. But it's just a process people go through."
The 24-year-old admitted on Thursday that he had arrived from Redfern last summer with an existing shoulder problem.
But, keen to impress his new club for handing him the keys to their forward pack, a torn ACL against Penrith in Round 12 brought an early finish to his first season in blue-and-gold.
And with the NRL's biggest improvers in 2014 already three weeks into their pre-season, the former Rabbitoh still hasn't been able to join the rest of his teammates for a single field session.
"I'm just past five months now. Hopefully I'm back the last week before Christmas, which is the six month-mark. I can get a run with the boys and get a good ten days of skills before Christmas break," he said.
"The shoulder is coming along pretty well. I'll probably start contact halfway through January and leading into trials. My goal at the moment is to get one trial in, so I won't be playing the Nines I don't think.
“I'll be pulling out of the Indigenous All Stars this year too, just so I can get my focus for Parramatta."
To that end, coach Brad Arthur is expected to hand Peats his desired role in the run-on side. But last season's mid-year acquisition of experienced rake Isaac De Gois could mean a reduction in minutes, a suggestion that, again, Peats didn't take too kindly.
"So far, I just told Brad, 'Don't take me off'," he said.
"That's just me being honest. I'm not into coming off. I'm an 80-minute player and that's what I want to do. Obviously last year I was playing busted most of the year. I think he feels like that was their fault as well by having to play me.
"But I've never had time off in my life. I came to Parramatta busted. I've had that much time off now that I'm feeling refreshed and feeling good. I don't want to come off and I told him that.
“I'm not sure what he's going to do. That's my goal – get back to trial form and Round 1 and play good 80-minute performances again."
Not even the idea of playing two hookers at the same time sounded like a good idea.
"I don't know what his position is by playing both hookers or not. If that's the case, I'm not happy about it," Peats continued.
"But Isaac's a good player too. He's been around for a long, long time. I'm big enough to play lock, but if that's the way they want to go then I need to put on some size. I've lost a bit of weight from the shoulder surgery. I'm comfortable playing there, I've done it my whole career at Souths. I don't mind. I just don't want to come off, to be honest."