Everyone knows he’s a peach of an NRL player, but all the natural skill in the world still couldn’t teach Tyrone Peachey how to tackle in the centres.
But season-ending knee injuries to Penrith’s all-international centre pairing in Dean Whare and Peta Hiku this year meant Peachey had to learn, and learn fast.
“I’d never played there anywhere, even through my juniors,” he told AAP.
“This is the first time. I was pretty nervous the first time I got put there. But with injuries, I was like the fifth or sixth-string centre. I just had to try and do my best.”
The early results were discouraging.
“It was against the Warriors. I let in a few tries and went back and did video with (coach Anthony Griffin) and he spoke me through whhat I needed to do,” Peachey said.
“So I watched footage of guys like Dean Whare and Peta Hiku and just tried to replicate what they do.”
For a bloke who’s made a living off his innate talents, it’s only hours spent on the computer that has resulted in him staying in the starting line-up.
Friday’s crunch against the Wests Tigers will be Peachey’s 10th consecutive game in the centres, easily the longest stretch of consecutive games in one position in his career.
Asked how many hours worth of clips he watched, he says: “A lot, and mostly defensively.”
And yet despite the likely return of both New Zealand internationals next season, Peachey is still considering a permanent shift to the flanks.
“It’s tough position. You feel like you’re by yourself out there in the centres, there’s a lot of space out there and a lot of fast guys,” he said.
“But I’m really enjoying it. I’m not going to think about next year because we’ve got two of the best centres in the comp, but I like it out there. I’ll just play whatever position Hook wants me to play.”
Enamoured with his unexpected, though successful, shift to the centres, Peachey, who is signed until the end of 2017, is now considering joining a growing list of players committing to the club long-term.
“I didn’t know what I wanted when I first moved here,” he said.
“I thought I was going to be here for two years then move back to Cronulla. But Penrith grew on me. I’ve got a lot of good mates, I love the club and the direction it’s going on. I don’t want to leave.”