McCullough focused on Peats battle
Gold Coast fullback Jarryd Hayne might be attracting most of the attention heading into Friday night's elimination final against the Broncos, but Brisbane hooker Andrew McCullough has his eyes on another of the Titans' mid-season recruits.
McCullough's direct opponent Nathan Peats arrived on the Gold Coast in May this year after being asked to leave the Parramatta Eels over salary cap pressures.
Since then he has been a rock in the middle of the field for the Titans, playing 13 games with an average of 35 tackles per match.
The ever-reliable 25-year-old has made just two errors since joining the Gold Coast, and has quickly formed a promising combination with retiring Titans co-captain Nathan Friend.
After coming across the talents of Cameron Smith and Jake Friend in recent weeks, McCullough is bracing for another tough outing on Friday at Suncorp Stadium.
"I think where they've won majority of their games is through the middle," McCullough said.
"Peats has done a great job for them, and Friend comes on and does his job whenever he is needed.
"They have some big boys that are playing with a lot of confidence.
"Peats was great for Parramatta. The Eels have struggled since he left the club.
"He's gone down to the Gold Coast and had an immediate impact. He's a tough competitor that tackles hard."
Peats is one of three big mid-season recruits who have made a big difference to the Titans, with Hayne and former New Zealand Warrior Konrad Hurrell helping the Gold Coast make the finals for the first time since 2010.
But the Titans enter Friday's must-win clash out of form, losing three out of their last four matches, with the only win in that period coming against the last-placed Newcastle Knights.
It's something the Broncos will try and exploit as they enter the finals series on the back of five straight wins.
"Our form is right up there at the moment. The confidence in the group is really high," McCullough said.
"We had a few ugly wins and that's what we needed.
"In saying that, we worked really hard prior to those wins so it was great to get some rewards.
"We are relatively injury free so it's not a bad spot to be in heading into the finals."
Brisbane finished the regular season in fifth position, finishing behind the fourth-placed North Queensland Cowboys on for and against.
When asked about whether missing the top four was deflating, McCullough was definitive in his answer.
"Playing semi-final football is a great feeling," he said.
"There are eight teams that are drinking alcohol at this time of year. Their seasons are over.
"We are here at training. It's sunny and we've even got some new footballs out there.
"It's just a great time of year and we're very lucky to be here. Hopefully we will be playing for another month."