Tyrone Peachey might not have been the first on everyone’s Origin radar, but when the Eighth Immortal throws your name into the ring, people listen.
“Origin football is not about set plays, it’s all about playing fast over the advantage line,” Andrew Johns tells NSWRL.com.au. “I think someone like Tyrone Peachey coming on when the Queenslanders are tired – he’d terrorise them out of dummy-half.”
Peachey, whose uncle David is a NSW True Blue having represented the state in 2000, has played the majority of positions on the field in his 67 NRL games to date, including stints at five-eighth, hooker, second row, centre and bench utility for the Panthers last year alone. A similar build to 2016 Origin utilities Jack Bird and Dylan Walker, he hasn’t been far from Origin discussions in the past two seasons. The 25-year-old, however, was quick to dismiss the suggestions so early in the year.
“It’s awesome to be rapped by an immortal like that,” Peachey says. “I’m having a hard enough time making this team (Penrith), so I’ll think about making this team first and worry about that stuff later.
“If I’m playing good footy it will all sort itself out.”
While a potential NSW VB Blues debut was far from the front of Peachey’s mind, his Origin-experienced teammates were quick to endorse his representative qualities.
“I think he can play anywhere,” Panthers captain Matt Moylan says. “It wouldn’t matter what sort of position you throw ‘Peach’ into, he’ll do a good job for you.”
The sentiment was echoed by Trent Merrin, who himself will hope to return to Origin football in 2017: “most definitely, he’s a player of that credential,” Merrin says. “He’d put that jersey on and fit in straight away.
“He’s just got to do his job here for us and he’ll put his hand up for selection. I’ve got big raps on Peach.”
Peachey has been named at centre for the Panthers’ opening match against the Dragons – a position he filled for his final 15 games of last season. The Wellington Cowboys junior knows his role in the team could very quickly change, but he’s comfortable moving around the field.
“I think I played almost every position last year,” Peachey says. “I’m just trying to do my best in wherever ‘Hook’ (coach Anthony Griffin) puts me.”
While the men from the foot of the mountains are well fancied as premiership contenders, Peachey was certain it wouldn’t affect the team’s preparation.
“Everyone’s saying that we’re favourites and stuff like that, but there’s a lot of good teams out there,” Peachey says. “We just try not to think about it, train hard during the week and keep the noise out.
With Origin discussions sure to ramp up right from Round 1, Peachey, with the backing of one of our greatest ever, will be one to keep an eye on in the opening weeks of competition.