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'Peats a Blues chance, but Farah is the man'

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Thursday, April 17, 2014 - 1:00 PM
Source: SportsFan
Author: Glenn Valencich

City coach Brad Fittler says Nathan Peats is in the State of Origin frame

Photo Source: Getty Images

City coach Brad Fittler says Parramatta hooker Nathan Peats will face Country in two weeks' time and could play State of Origin, but Robbie Farah is still the man.

Wests Tigers and New South Wales incumbent Farah dislocated his elbow in a nasty collision against the Cowboys last weekend, setting himself the task of returning for game one in Brisbane on May 28.

Peats moved from South Sydney to the Eels in the off-season and the 23-year-old has impressed many – including Fittler – as an 80-minute hooker.

After making his City debut in 2013, Fittler says Peats will be back and has put his hand up for a larger role for the Blues.

"At some stage you've got to play your first game. Some people, when they play their first game, they grab it by the scruff of the neck and they become 20 and 30 Origin-game players," Brad 'Freddy' Fittler told SportsFan's Will McCloy.

"But at some stage you've got to play your first and it's what he is showing for Parramatta.

"No doubt if they keep having that success and he keeps playing in that style and that form then he'll definitely be in the City side if he's not injured, so that's a logical step to other representative football."

Click here to watch Brad Fittler's full take on Robbie Farah's injury and the implications for New South Wales.

While Fittler has flagged Peats as a potential hooking option, he says New South Wales needs its best players to take on Queensland as the Blues bid to rid itself of an eight-series losing streak.

"We haven't won for a long time so I don't think anyone's a walk-up start. I think Robbie Farah's form this year says that he is in the No.1 position to be the hooker," Fittler said.

"I don't think (Kurt) Gidley could play a full game there so that means you'd have to carry another No.9, whether it'd be a Josh Reynolds, who doesn't play No.9, so you go into one of the biggest game of the year with a few unknowns."

Queensland's winning streak has been highlighted by the consistency of a squad anchored by current captain Cameron Smith, and it is the relationship he has with Origin and Australia teammates Cooper Cronk and Johnathan Thurston that Fittler says the Blues need to match.

With Farah having had a number of different New South Wales teammates in key positions since his 2009 debut, Freddy believes even the 30-year-old, if fit, can't do it on his own despite showing such strong form early in the 2014 campaign.

"I think the form he's shown this year puts him back in the box," Fittler said.

"Let's hope he is healthy because he's the man, I think, given he's been there the last couple of years. It's just those combinations, you start building them again.

"We've had a lot of problems with that over the last couple of years ... so we seem to keep having to build relationships and combinations.

"It'd be nice to get in there with ones that have already been built."

Should NSW take an underdone Farah into Origin I or would a fit-and-firing Peats get the job done as the Blues look to break its losing streak? Have your say in the comments below.


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