EIGHTH Immortal Andrew Johns has backed Phil Gould’s calls for Tyrone Peachey to be selected as a Blues bolter for this year’s NSW side, calling him the new Craig Wing.
Just seven months after being dropped to reserve grade by Penrith coach Anthony Griffin, Peachey has emerged as a genuine proposition to make his State of Origin debut this year.
With Josh Mansour (knee) and Dallin Watene-Zelezniak (knee) both set to miss the start of the NRL season, Wellington-born Peachey is set to start the season at centre.
While he enjoyed a breakout back-end to his campaign at centre last year, he has played all over the park since making his debut for Cronulla in 2013 including the back-row, hooker and five-eighth.
His utility value and speed out of dummy-half now shape as a potential x-factor for NSW coach Laurie Daley.
Matt Moylan and Jack Bird are regarded as the leading contenders for the Blues utility position but Johns said Peachey would add an attacking thrust the side hasn’t enjoyed since the retirement of supersub Wing.
“I can see someone like Tyrone Peachey (playing the utility role),” Johns said. “I don’t think the Blues have had that impact out of dummy-half since Craig Wing.” In July last year, the 25-year-old was sent back to NSW Cup after showing up late to Panthers training following a night out in Cronulla. Peachey described it as the kick up the backside he needed and has seemingly carried his outstanding form into 2017, judging by his sharp display for the Indigenous All Stars earlier this month.
During the All Stars broadcast, Channel 9 commentator and Penrith supremo Gould advocated Peachey being blooded by NSW this year.
Former NSW skipper Johns said he would like to see Peachey being used alongside NSW No. 9 Robbie Farah, predicting he was capable of cutting up Queensland’s tiring forwards late in both halves.
“Origin football is not about set plays, it’s about playing fast over the advantage line,” Johns said.
“I think someone like Tyrone Peachey coming on when the Queenslanders are tired, he’d terrorise them.”