Gold Coast Titans hooker Nathan Peats never expected to be in this position.
The Titans sit inside the top eight with a firm grip on a finals spot with one round remaining. A win over the North Queensland Cowboys on Saturday night will secure their place, with defeat and a Wests Tigers win against the Canberra Raiders the only scenario that sees them miss out.
But if 2016 is a lesson in anything for Peats, it’s how quickly life can change.
Peats never thought he’d be on the Gold Coast running around in a Titans jersey. Not this season anyway.
His Parramatta Eels sat atop the NRL ladder in May, having won six out of their first seven games. But whilst Peats and the Eels dreamt of an elusive NRL Premiership, life took a different path.
Parramatta’s season came tumbling down amid revelations of salary cap rorting and Peats found himself forced out, moving on to the Titans.
“At the start of this year I probably thought it was our year (with the Eels), but obviously things have panned out differently.
“It was extremely hard to leave. I got really close to the boys there and my family was really close to a couple of other families around the club. We all sorted of lived in the same unit block at Parramatta.
“It was obviously tough to leave and I didn’t want to leave, but I’m thankful that I have. I’m enjoying my time up here on the Gold Coast,” Peats told NITV’s League Nation Live.
The Hooker had little time to ponder the move to the Titans, with the deal signed in just 24 hours. He’d make his debut for the club just days later in what was a whirlwind introduction to the Gold Coast.
But remarkably, Peats fitted in quickly and with ease, transforming the Titans into a finals contender, with their new hooker providing some much needed spark.
“The boys are pretty welcoming and they put me straight into the side. The main thing was Neil Henry spoke to a number of senior players there and they said they wanted me that made me feel a lot more welcome," says Peats.
Peats has reunited on the Gold Coast with another former Eel in Jarryd Hayne.
‘The Hayne Plane’ shocked the Rugby League world by joining the Titans, becoming the club’s biggest signing in their history.
The arrival of Hayne is another twist in what’s been a crazy year for Peats and another sign to expect the unexpected.
“It’s surprising that he’s up here. If you had have asked me six weeks ago that I’d be playing with Jarryd Hayne on the Gold Coast I would have laughed in your face.
“To play with him again and see the crowds come out and just to watch him play it’s certainly making it easier for the Titans and hopefully we can put on a good performance this weekend", Peats explains.
Hopefully this weekend isn’t the end of 2016 for Peats and the Titans and who knows what twists are still to come.
A finals run all the way to a Grand Final? Why not, it's been a crazy year.