Leilua the hardest to tackle in NRL: Peach

Penrith centre Tyrone Peachey concedes Canberra counterpart Joey Leilua is arguably the hardest player to tackle in the NRL right now.

The makeshift three-quarter will face off against the in-form Leilua when the Raiders host the Panthers in Saturday’s mouth-watering semi-final at GIO Stadium.

And the 25-year-old admits he’ll have his hands full taming the Canberra bull.

“That left edge is going to be a tough ask, trying to defend BJ. I’m just going to try and do my best job because he’s been running rampage over everyone,” Peachey told AAP.

“(Leilua and winger Jordan Rapana) have been killing it all year.”

Asked if Leilua was the most difficult player to take down in the NRL, Peachey said: “Probably, but I haven’t played him while I’ve been in the centres yet.”

Leilua and Rapana have arguably been the league’s hottest backline duo this year, racking up a combined 32 tries for the league’s most potent attacking team.

Both players are considered strong contenders to take out the Dally M centre and wing awards at the prestigious end-of-season gala night in grand final week.

However, Penrith pair Josh Mansour and Peachey could also lay claim to similar honours for contributions to their side’s six-game winning streak that has thrust them into title contention.

They boast one more line break than their Canberra counterparts, and also almost match them for tries.

However, Rapana and Leilua have combined for almost 70 more tackle busts.

Mansour was confident he and Peachey, who only switched to the centres in round 11 following a season-ending injury to Peta Hiku, could hold their own against their more heralded opponents.

The pair were instrumental in the Panthers’ elimination final win over Canterbury on Sunday, scoring one try each, running a combined 364 metres and busting 12 tackles.

“Leilua and Rapana have been having a great season together on that edge. It’s going to be a big challenge. But me and Peach, we’ll step up for next week and hopefully do a good job on them,” Mansour said.

RIGHT-WING RAIDERS v LEFT-WING PANTHERS

Jordan Rapana and Joey Leilua

* 32 tries

* 38 line breaks

* 251 tackle busts

Josh Mansour and Tyrone Peachey

* 28 tries

* 39 line breaks

* 188 tackle busts

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