Wests Tigers hooker Robbie Farah empathises with hard-working Eels rake Nathan Peats, who faces being pushed out of the Eels as the club's administration looks to try and rectify its mishandling of its salary cap so the team can play for competition points for the rest of the year.
Farah – himself a candidate of being pushed out of a club as recently as this past off-season when told he could look at his options elsewhere – said it is a difficult situation and no player deserves to be in it less than Peats does.
"He's been outstanding for them. He's always played injured, played tough. And now he's in a situation where, does he take a bullet for the team and sacrifice himself?" Farah said on Wednesday.
Farah sympathised with the popular No.9, who he has got to know at a few emerging Origin camps and around the City Origin scene, given Peats is in his third year at the blue and golds and may now be forced out as a result of an off-season spending spree that netted four representative players in Kieran Foran, Beau Scott, Michael Gordon and Michael Jennings.
"When they've gone and signed four or five rep players in the off-season, when they knew they were over the cap? I feel very sorry for him," Farah said.
"It's a constant reminder that footy's a business these days and players need to look after themselves. You're only in the game for so long and there comes a time when you might do the right thing by a club but if you're time's up or if the club needs you to move on for salary cap reasons or whatever it may be, then you get the tap on the shoulder.
"That's happened in this case for Nathan Peats. Unfortunately I think he's a player at that club that least deserves it. I wish him well and hopefully everything works out for him."
Peats's teammates on Tuesday remained hopeful an agreement could be reached that would see the tough City Origin rep remain in blue and gold.
"In the short time I've been here we've become pretty close. It would be hard to see him go but the club's got to do what it's got to do and he's got to do what's best for him and his family so if it happens it happens," said utility back Clint Gutherson.
Isaac De Gois – the man likely to be the starting hooker for the rest of the year if Peats is forced out – said he could relate, having made a mid-season switch from Cronulla to the Eels last year.
"It's a tough decision and I don't know the ins and outs so I can't comment any more than that… If it's true it's tough," he said.
"Everyone knows what type of player he is and what he brings to the side. He's your ideal kind of hooker, if you're a small bloke you've got to be tough."