Gareth Widdop Eels' new star to watch

GARETH Widdop may have his nose in front, but Nathan Peats is not far behind in the race for buy of the year.

Peats, who produced his second man of the match performance in three games at the weekend, has become as important as Jarryd Hayne to the Eels' fortunes in 2014.

The crafty number 9 is relishing playing 80-minute games and racking up big numbers.

So far in 2014 he is averaging 44 tackles per game and has been a breath of fresh of air out of dummy half crossing for two tries.

Despite his good form the 23-year-old is refusing to get ahead of himself.

"I'm not gonna get ahead of myself at all, like I said, I'm worried about the team, we've had two wins, two losses and we're trying to make that three wins this week," Peats said.

"There's always improvement.

"I've got three 80-minute games out [so far], which is what I came here for: to get long minutes.

"I'm a week-to-week progress, I'm still learning off Brad (Arthur) and the coaching staff what I have to do and just trying to improve myself."

One thing he is hoping to build on is the combination with former Souths teammate Chris Sandow.

Last Saturday night's win was the first time they have played together in the 7 and 9 jumpers.

"Hopefully we can get a few more games together and our combinations get better and better. You like to play with someone you've played with before and you know what they've got and what you have to offer each other," he said.

"Obviously I missed the Roosters game, so for me it's only our third game together as a spine, as a forward pack and as a team so there is still plenty of time to get better."

Peats said they will need to improve to compete with the in-form Broncos this week.

"It's always a hard game up there on a Friday night and at Suncorp; there will be a big crowd and I like playing there; I enjoy the atmosphere," he said.

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