Brisbane Broncos player Ben Hunt (centre) during a training session in Brisbane.
Brisbane Broncos player Ben Hunt (centre) during a training session in Brisbane. DARREN ENGLAND

Peats lays it on the line for Hunt

THE Titans have warned Ben Hunt to prepare for 80 minutes of non-stop traffic as they look to salvage a derby win from their disappointing season.

Hunt will step in at hooker on Saturday as the Broncos look for a two-month replacement for the injured Andrew McCullough.

But Titans rake Nathan Peats has warned Hunt that No.9 is a vastly different position from the halves and he faces a heavy workload against a Gold Coast side desperate to atone for their insipid fade from finals contention.

NSW Origin hooker Peats said Tyrone Roberts' difficulties in switching from the halves to hooker for the Titans showed just how different the positions were.

"Hooker's tough," Peats said.

"You ask Tyrone (Roberts), he filled in at dummy-half and it's a different ball game in the middle.

"Benny Hunt's a pretty good defender and he's a stocky little falls, so I think he'll do quite fine.

"We're not going to change our game plan, we usually try and work the middles over for every team or work the dummy-halves over."

Peats regularly makes 40 tackles a game for the Titans, while McCullough averages 45 tackles a game this year for the Broncos, so Hunt is going to have to more than double his regular defensive load in the halves.

Peats said McCullough's injury was a huge blow for the Broncos.

"McCullough's a massive loss for them and will be hard to replace," he said.

"I think he's a quality player and he's worked really hard.

"We were born in the same year and he's played over 200 games and it's unbelievable ... he's like a young Cameron Smith at the moment."

Peats is keen to make his mark on Saturday but not because World Cup selectors could be watching in the absence of McCullough, the man rated by many as Cameron Smith's understudy.

"No chance," Peasts said when asked if he thought he could snare a Kangaroos jersey in McCullough's absence.

"I've (asked) Haynesy (Jarryd Hayne) if he can maybe get me a start as the Fiji water boy or something to miss out on the start of the pre-season but that's as close as I'll be getting to the World Cup, I think.

"I'm not even considering that to be honest, I don't think I'd even be in the frame.

"I'm fine with that. I just got to play good this weekend, I played pretty poorly on the weekend, I thought it was my worst game of the year against the Tigers.

"I think as a squad it was our worst game too, so I'm looking to bounce back and try and find some form again."

Peats said the Titans were burning after the Tigers loss and wanted to make amends.

"It was just so disappointing as a squad," he said.

"Why we were all so flat and played like that, I have no idea. We had everything to play for and just didn't show up on the day.

"That happens in footy sometimes, I guess. Sometimes you can't really figure out why it happened. But it's good we only have to wait six days to play again.

"If we can't get ourselves up for a local derby, then we're kidding ourselves.

"It's going to be a solid game and they're a quality side and we nearly had them earlier in the year, so hopefully we can get them this time."

News Corp Australia

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