Smith my hooking idol: Peats
Parramatta hooker Nathan Peats looks up to Storm captain Cameron Smith, but don't think for a second he has modelled his game on the Queensland and Australian hooker.
Peats is fairly new to the hooking game, apart from stints in the under-20s at the Rabbitohs and his past two seasons at the Eels, and says Smith is an idol he can't wait to face off against on Sunday at Pirtek Stadium.
"I don't think you can model anything from Cameron Smith. He's just clever and has a great left foot kicking game too – he's just a smart dummy-half and I enjoy watching him," Peats said.
"I've always watched him growing up so I'm looking forward to that little battle because he's the best No.9 running around and has been for a long time.
"It's only been the past two seasons where I've been a full-time hooker so as soon as I started playing there he became my favourite hooker to watch and he's the best in the world."
While Smith is miles ahead of Peats in terms of accomplishments, with Robbie Farah and Issac Luke distinctly sitting between them, the 24-year-old remains content in knowing he is still being recognised for his good form after earning his second City berth last weekend.
Knowing full well Smith and Farah are the game's two star hookers, Peats was happy to essentially build up his repertoire and slowly close the gap between him and Farah as New South Wales's second-string hooker.
"It was a good week in [City] camp, you get to meet new blokes and play with others who you may not get the chance to play with again. It's still a representative jersey for me [regardless of the blocked pathway to higher honours]. I'll take it with both hands if I ever get another opportunity," Peats said.
"Obviously Farah's the New South Wales No.9 there and there are some other good hookers running around so it's good to see where I'm at and it's a tick on the list and a motive to keep improving."
Peats believes consistency is key when it comes to harnessing the Eels' rollercoaster form.
Parramatta have beaten reigning premiers South Sydney, Manly and Newcastle this season, yet have failed to back it up on a regular basis.
"Sometimes when we're expected to win we just don't turn up and there are times where this isn't as much hype around the game and we haven't showed up," Peats said.
"It's a matter of getting the consistency right – our best game to our worst game is a big gap so we're just trying to minimise that.
"We're not going that badly, last year at this time we were four from eight so we're only one game different and I think it's a matter of getting our attitude right."