NRL journeyman Adam Peek is a romantic when it comes to the traditional aspects of rugby league.
He is the type of guy who loves a beer and a pie while watching all three grades from the hill.
And it was those values which attracted the Sydney-bred prop to join Kurri Kurri for his twilight season.
Peek never played with the Newcastle Knights and has no connections to the Hunter, unlike the majority of the ex-NRL stars floating around the Newcastle Rugby League.
But when offered an opportunity to join the Bulldogs by captain-coach and friend George Ndaira after returning from the UK, the 34-year-old shelved retirement plans.
He now commutes from the south-west Sydney suburb of Chipping Norton to Kurri for Friday night training and games on the weekend.
‘‘It’s always been mentioned to me that it’s fun and it’s a different style of footy,’’ Peek said.
‘‘When we played the first game at Kurri against defending premiers Maitland we had a very good crowd and it was like a flashback to the olden days when everyone would come to the footy and have a good time.
‘‘They weren’t getting charged ridiculous prices for a beer and a pie, and everyone is there to support the local team.
‘‘I really enjoy that aspect of it and the fans are quite close.’’
Peek played 134 games over nine years in the NRL at six clubs, the Adelaide Rams, Canterbury, South Sydney, Parramatta, St George Illawarra and Cronulla.
He then spent three seasons at Wales-based UK Super League club the Crusaders before they became defunct last year.
The Bulldogs have enjoyed three wins to start the season with arguably the best forward pack assembled in the local league in recent years.
Between Jesse Royal (65), Daniel Abraham (106), Reegan Tanner (83) and Peek (134) the Kurri forwards have 388 games of NRL first-grade experience.
Ndaira has even had the luxury of using Peek off the interchange bench in his first three games for the tricolours.
‘‘I’m used to it. I’ve played off the bench for most of my career,’’ Peek said.
‘‘I’m happy to play off the bench because I didn’t want to just come in and tread on people’s toes.’’
Victories over premiers Maitland and South Newcastle have raised hopes that the Bulldogs could end their 17-year premiership drought.
‘‘It’s only three games into it and teams on paper never mean anything,’’ Peek said.
‘‘In 2005 at Parramatta we probably had the best side on paper but got beat by North Queensland [in the qualifying semi-final].
‘‘We haven’t even discussed it yet. The boys are happy just turning up every week, and we have a huge amount of improvement to do as we’ve come from behind in the last two weeks.’’