Mum's the word as Peats plans debut
NATHAN Peats is liaising with the media the way he deals with rivals on the field.
Straight down the line, no nonsense, get the job done.
It's what he wants from his State of Origin debut for the Blues tonight too - "go out there and do a job".
Brought into the side as a hard-tackling, quick-ball-delivering dummy-half who will allow Mitchell Pearce to take the Blues' reins, Peats sees himself as just a cog in what he hopes will be a well-oiled NSW machine.
But in the swirling cauldron of Suncorp Stadium in front of more than 50,000 rabid fans, turning off the emotion will be no easy task.
It's something Peats admits he will struggle to do.
Even in that raucous crowd, Peats reckons he will hear his mother before he sees her.
"I'll probably hear her to be honest. She's pretty loud in a footy crowd," Peats said of his mother Pamela Richards.
It's Richards that Peats wants to make proud "more than anyone" tonight. And that's saying something.
Peats shed tears last week when revealing to his Blues teammates just what making Origin meant to him.
Like all players, it's a dream and journey those closest to him have bought into.
Partner Jade Morris Ruka has been by his side through it all: bouncing in and out of first grade at Souths; the injuries; the move from Parramatta last year after the salary cap scandal.
Dad Geordi is always there for advice and close to home now Peats is playing for the Titans on the Gold Coast, but it's Richards' battle with breast cancer that inspires him the most.
"She's super proud of me, mum, and it's obviously making her proud me doing this kind of stuff," Peats said.
"She's pretty emotional like I am, I guess. So it's tough at times. But she's come out the other end, which is really pleasing and I want to make her proud."
Peats can't turn off the emotion and in Origin, it's probably a good thing.
Queensland has been using passion for the jersey as a clarion call since the first game in 1980.
"Origin means a hell of a lot to me and this is what I've been working hard for my whole career," Peats said of his emotional speech.
"So I think that all got the best of me and I got a bit choked up."
That passion can make Peats an angry ant on the field but there's one man he won't be attempting to rile tonight.
While he's a notorious baiter of mates on social media, in his Origin debut Peats is likely to avoid sledging rival Cameron Smith in the Maroons captain's history-making 40th game.
"I'll just be concentrating on what I have to do and not piping up to anyone, because if you pipe up to someone like Cameron Smith, they'll make you pay," he said.