As Nathan Peats prepares to play against former Parramatta teammates for the first time, his Gold Coast team are wary of the beleaguered Eels.
Gold Coast coach Neil Henry says a minor elbow injury suffered in Sunday’s win over South Sydney is unlikely to keep Peats out of Saturday’s NRL clash in Darwin.
“He’s quite keen to get out there and play his old teammates,” Henry told reporters in Darwin on Tuesday.
The coach also admitted on Tuesday that Peats brought some inside knowledge with him, having transferred mid-season when forced out of Parramatta by the club’s salary cap scandal.
However, he noted that with captain Kieran Foran and Brad Takairangi both out with injuries, the Titans could be facing a somewhat different combination.
The Titans have snuck into the top eight but Henry was cautious about the Eels despite the seemingly never-ending dramas surrounding the club this season.
“They’ve got a powerful pack and certainly run nice and hard so we’ll need to be a bit better. We lost a lot of tackles against Souths and we let them back into the game after having an 18-point lead,” Henry said.
If the Eels are docked points by the NRL at the end of the week due to the ongoing salary cap scandal, that could make for a tougher match.
“There could be an even more fired-up team if that was the case,” he said.
Eels captain Beau Scott said his team were refreshed after a bye but would need to work out a strategy to contain hooker Peats and the Titans.
“They’ve definitely been playing really good football, especially through the middle of the field, through their forwards,” said Scott.
“They have laid the platform for the backs to do their job so we’re definitely going to have a challenge on our hands come Saturday.”
He said the pending resolution of the salary cap issue wouldn’t pose much of a distraction.
“Considering the year we’ve had, not much at all,” he said.