Peats in doubt for Titans after Origin heroics
Nathan Peats admits he is at long odds to line up for the Titans against the Cowboys on Saturday night after playing through the pain of a corked quadriceps muscle to complete a heroic Origin debut for New South Wales on Wednesday night.
The injury to Peats early in the second half forced Blues coach Laurie Daley to momentarily rethink his interchange strategy before Peats declared he could fight through, playing all 80 minutes and making 53 tackles in New South Wales' record 28-4 win over the Maroons in Game One of the Holden State of Origin series.
His courage could come at a cost for the Titans however, who now face the prospect of a trip to Townsville without their talismanic hooker, with Pat Politoni in line to make his debut for the club after some sparkling displays for Burleigh since returning from a broken arm.
"I don't think so," was Peats' simple answer when asked whether he thought he could back up for the Titans.
"Just got kneed right in the quad so it was a good old fashioned cork. I was limping around a bit the second half but I managed to get through."
With Peats battling through on one leg Daley made moves to bring him from the field before Josh Dugan's match fitness - after a month out - and the head knock suffered by halfback Mitchell Pearce saw Jack Bird introduced at centre and then make a quick shift into the halves, necessitating Peats staying on and earning high praise from his coach.
"He suffered a massive corked thigh, he's hardly walking," Daley said post-game.
"We were trying to get him off and all of a sudden 'Duges' (Dugan) was struggling a bit through match fitness and we weren't quite sure where we were going to throw 'Birdy' (Bird).
"We had to hold him back a little bit because we thought 'Peatsy' needed to come off but he's a tough bugger and he said, 'No, I'll battle it out'.
"For a guy on debut in the middle, geez I thought he was great."
Long touted as a Blues hooker of the future, Peats was selected for Game One after Penrith's Peter Wallace was ruled out with a groin injury and took a mortgage on the position with a performance that allowed his side to play fast and over the advantage line.
Although he only had two carries for 29 metres with ball in hand, the 26-year-old covered a record 8.06 kilometres over the course of the game, dispelling any pre-game doubts that he might not have what it takes in the game's toughest arena.
"You'll never know if you're good enough until you get out there I guess," Peats said.
"I was always confident in my ability and it's a pretty basic game Origin, it's just tough with a lot of defence and grinding type of game and I feel as though it's probably more to my liking.
"I'm not a very flamboyant type of player so I hope I did well.
"That first half was unbelievable, how fast it was, it was a tough game but everything I expected.
"I was preparing for a tough 80 minutes and that's exactly what it was.
"It was an unbelievable feeling running out in front of that hostile Suncorp crowd, it was everything that I expected.
"I hope I made people proud, especially my family."