Touching tribute to Peats was well-deserved
Former Eels hooker Nathan Peats has won over plenty of new fans with the dignity and class he has shown through a tough week in which he was effectively made the fall guy in Parramatta's attempt to get back under the salary cap.
On Friday night the fans showed their appreciation while former teammates also heaped praise on the rugged No.9.
Told he and Corey Norman were the only players at the club on enough money to fix the club's cap issues if they were moved on, Peats accepted the situation that was well beyond his control and not of his making like a champion, penning an 18-month deal with the Gold Coast Titans after near two-and-a-half years of dedicated service to the Eels in which he has put his body on the line like few other players.
In a mark of their appreciation, blue and gold fans around Pirtek Stadium, in a pre-planned move, stood as one and applauded at the nine-minute mark of Friday night's loss so Souths in a tribute to the Titans-bound hooker.
"I was made aware of [the planned tribute] before kick-off but once I had my head in the game I was wondering what we were all standing up for but I was pretty quick to realise," smiled coach Brad Arthur after the game.
"It was nice from our fans, they obviously appreciate what Nathan's done for our club."
Peats himself was clearly touched by the gesture, tweeting:
Parra fans. Thank you so much for the standing ovation. Unbelievable honour for that to happen. I'll never forget that or you guys.— Nathan Peats (@peats05) May 13, 2016
Peats' close mate Corey Norman, who himself is now a much stronger chance of being offered a deal that will keep him at the club, said the honour was well-deserved and that the players noticed it on the field.
"It's good, I'm glad they noticed what he did for this club, put his body on the line every week for this club and it's good and I'm sure Peatsy would have appreciated it," Norman said.
He also praised the way Peats had handled himself throughout the process.
"We were saying, if this was a couple of years ago he might be a bit different but he's really grown up and has a very calm head on him now and the way he's handled himself is second to none," Norman added.
Peats' former Rabbitohs teammate Adam Reynolds also credited the fans' appreciation for what the La Perouse Panthers junior had brought to the club in his time there.
"He deserves it, he's been a great character for the club. He's a competitor and I'm sure he'll be missed but it's an opportunity for him to get up north and do a job there," Reynolds told NRL.com.