Just three years after he was NSW's starting hooker in State of Origin, Nathan Peats's NRL career is in the doldrums.
The 29-year-old has fallen so far down the pecking order at Gold Coast not even an injury to Mitch Rein was enough to get him back in the Titans' line-up.
Instead coach Justin Holbrook has opted to elevate 22-year-old Erin Clark to the No.9 jersey for Friday's match against the Warriors at CBUS Super Stadium.
With teenager Tanah Boyd playing the utility role off the bench, Peats appears fourth-choice at the Titans having been dropped by Holbrook following the round three loss to North Queensland in May.
With the ex-Parramatta rake off-contract at the end of the season, his time at the Titans seems to be coming to an end, though Holbrook said he was happy with how Peats had responded to his axing.
"He's going well. He's played the scrimmage games and he's a super-fit guy," Holbrook said.
"It's probably our strength. We've got a lot of hookers at the moment ... he's itching to go Peatsey and when he's called upon he'll be ready but at the minute I just think the best make up of our side, Erin and Tanah are filling that role pretty good for us."
The Titans are looking to avoid an 11th straight loss at their home ground in a week where their attempts to lure barnstorming Brisbane forward David Fifita on a big-money deal have dominated the headlines.
Despite the fuss over Fifita's future, Holbrook said it hadn't been a distraction to his players ahead of the Warriors match.
"Doesn't disrupt them at all. It doesn't take any of their time up," he said.
"It's nothing to do with our playing group."
Australian Associated Press