Dyldam Parramatta Eels hooker Nathan Peats says he’s finding new ways to improve his own game and give back to the game as a whole as he heads for his 26th birthday.
While the Eels as a whole look more cohesive than ever in their third year working under Head Coach Brad Arthur, the Blue and Gold dummy-half told the Sunday Footy Show that maturity has also brought him a new perspective on his role in the side.
“I think it’s about buying into BA (Brad Arthur)’s systems,” Peats said of the Eels’ impressive defensive performances so far in 2016.
“We’ve all been together for 3 years now and obviously the new guys coming in have helped out a lot. We’re all believing in it and I think it’s showing in our defence.”
“For me, this year having Beau Scott and our forward pack I’m not making as many tackles,” Peats told the Sunday Footy Show panel.
“And I think it’s going to help my attack. [In the past] I’ve been out on my feet in a lot of games, cleaning up around the ruck, now hopefully I can start getting my attack going a bit more.”
“I’m not the fastest bloke or the most skilful bloke - thanks to mum and dad and the genetics they’ve given me - so that’s the way I play, doing the 1%-ers as well as I can and playing aggressively. But I think it’s about picking my times a bit better.”
“I think I got a bit loose at times, trying to whack people when I shouldn’t.”
“That’s probably a part of maturing as a footy player.”
Peats has a mentor close to home in his father, Geordi Peats, who played at hooker in first grade for both the Canterbury-Bankstown Bulldogs and the South Sydney Rabbitohs.
“My old man’s always into me about prolonging your career,” Peats said.
“It’s pretty special having a father and son who both played first grade in the same position, and he helps me out a lot with the mental side of it.”
The Eels hooker has also found time to reach out to the next generation of NRL stars, taking on a coaching role for the 2016 season at the La Perouse Panthers with the Under 13s side.
“I do it with one of my good mates, Aaron,” Peats said.
“They’re really good kids, they’re a bit cheeky at times. They’re doing well so far and I’m enjoying doing that, and giving back to the community a bit.”
“I was probably a bit selfish during my earlier times of my career, not really giving back to footy. I’ve learned over time that you’ve got to give back a bit and that’s why I jumped on board.”