Nathan Peats: “We want to go well next year. It’s a big challenge.” Photo: SuppliedTwo of Parramatta’s most important signings acquainted themselves in Bali. New coach Brad Arthur and former South Sydney hooker Nathan Peats twice crossed paths at the popular holiday destination. They hit it off, which is a good thing given Peats had a get-out clause in his contract linked to the coach.
While Peats never contemplated activating it, the 23-year-old was relieved to find they were on the same page well before the club’s first training session on a rain-soaked Richie Benaud Oval on Monday.
“He’s a good bloke with the same goals as what I have, we want to go well next year and not have another cellar-dweller kind of season,” Peats said.
“It’s a big challenge. Ricky [Stuart] was obviously the one who got me here. Those few weeks before the new coach got picked I was a bit nervous but I was never going to leave, my intentions were to stay.”
Day one of pre-season at the Eels and, everywhere you looked, there was someone with something to prove. For Peats, it’s the chance to become a starting hooker, a position he was never going to nail while playing behind Issac Luke at Redfern. Another former Rabbitoh, Chris Sandow, has one season left on his lucrative contract to prove that he has turned himself around and can do likewise for the wooden spooners.
And popular team member Ben Smith, initially earmarked as being among the “Parramatta punted”, was back for a 10th pre-season with the blue and golds.
But no man faces a bigger challenge than Arthur. A Parramatta junior, Arthur has enjoyed a rounded apprenticeship at powerhouses Melbourne and Manly, as well as a six-week caretaker stint as head coach at the Eels last year. He returns to a club unsettled on and off the field and tipped to earn a third consecutive wooden spoon.
In his favour is the bond he has already established with several senior players. Tim Mannah, for instance, would have been happy had Arthur been permanently installed after the club parted company with another Storm assistant, Stephen Kearney.
However, the captain believes Arthur’s subsequent experiences with grand finalists Manly will prove invaluable. “We know BA from when he was here a couple of years ago and we’re all stoked he’s coming back,” Mannah said.
Not all of Parramatta’s new faces were on hand. Will Hopoate is finishing up his Mormon missionary commitments, while Lee Mossop and Brenden Santi remain on World Cup duty.
Peats’ father, Geordi, a hooker for Souths and Canterbury, had no qualms about his son joining the Bulldogs’ arch rivals. “He’s sweet, as long as I’m happy, he’s happy,” Nathan Peats said.
This story Administrator ready to work first appeared on Nanjing Night Net.