Born in Auckland, New Zealand on January 1, 1992, Nathaniel Peteru is of both Samoan and Cook Island descent. As a youngster, Peteru played his junior Rugby League with Glenora Bears in the Auckland Rugby competition. In 2010, as an 18-year-old, Peteru was part of the Brisbane Broncos' National Youth Competition (NYC) squad but failed to play a game. In 2011, the giant forward once more moved back to New Zealand to play with the New Zealand Warriors NYC squad in 2011 and 2012. Here, Peteru took his chance, registering 21 appearances over the two years, scoring a try and impressing with his raw talent and passion for the game.

In another step forward, the Auckland-born prop moved on to the Warriors New South Wales Cup team, the Auckland Vulcans. In his second year with the now-renamed Vodafone Warriors, the forward played nine times and earned some rave reviews. He was on the cusp of NRL selection when he tore his ACL and had to undergo an immediate operation for a knee reconstruction. After an offseason trial match against the Gold Coast Titans in February 2015, Peteru showed enough to be given an NRL contract by the Warriors later that month.

NRL career

During his four-and-a-half month stint with the Warriors in the NRL, Peteru failed to register an appearance, though he did play in all of the Warriors reserve grade matches.

When the Gold Coast Titans came calling in July 2015, the then 23-year-old snapped up the opportunity, especially as he would be playing under Titans' assistant coach Rohan Smith, who coached Peteru at the New Zealand Warriors' NSW Cup side in 2014. The Warriors released Peteru to allow him to take up a one-and-half-year deal with the Titans.

Just a week after joining, Peteru made his debut in Round 18 of the 2015 NRL season against the Manly Warringah Sea Eagles. Although the Titans were demolished 38-6 by the Sea Eagles, Peteru crossed the whitewash for his first Titans and NRL try. After this memorable debut, however, Peteru was in and out of the side and, instead, notched up more appearances for the Titans' feeder club, the Burleigh Bears in the Queensland Cup.

Over the course of two-and-a-half seasons with the Queensland-based side, Peteru made just 23 appearances - though 15 of these would come in 2017 - and his debut try was the only four-pointer he would register in his stint at the club.

Move to West Yorkshire

It was, therefore, a surprise that Leeds Rhinos (who would win a record-eighth Grand Final victory just ten days after announcing Peteru) announced the signing of Peteru in late September 2017 after only just finding his feet as an NRL player in his third season Down Under. A signing that Leeds over the next few seasons could reap the rewards.

The 25-year-old has been given a glowing report by former fans' favourite and Peteru's boyhood hero Kylie Leuluai and who better to recommend a player than a six-time Grand Final winner and Rugby League legend?

Signing up Peteru on a three-year deal is a good move by Leeds and head coach Brian McDermott; aged just 25, Peteru has not yet hit his peak as a front-rower. And, standing at 6 ft 5 tall and weighing a monstrous 18 stone, the former Titan has all the physical attributes to make it in Super League.

According to McDermott, Peteru is a player that Leeds have been watching for a while and there is no wonder why. He is surprisingly mobile for a man with such a big frame and has a passing game that can suit the English game well: he registered a try assist and a line-break assist in his 14 games from the bench for the Titans in 2017. Not only does Peteru draw in defenders with his physicality and aggressive running game, but, he is also a very reliable defender and is not afraid to do the hard work on the defensive line.

Leeds, then, may well have unearthed a diamond who can go a seriously long way in the English game. On the back of yet another successful season for the Rhinos, Peteru could be the right man to consolidate Leeds' position at the top.