MVPs of 2014: Tyrone Peachey
As we count down to season 2014, NRL.com identifies 30 players who will be crucial to their team's fortunes this year. From new faces to rising stars to proven performers who will need to lift this season, these are our MVPs for 2014.
He's a brand new player, living in brand a new town, starting a brand new year. As far as fresh starts go, not even Mitchell Johnson's renaissance compares. But in many ways, young Tyrone Peachey is a throwback, and it's not just because of his famous uncle.
There's the wrong-footing sleight of hand. There's also the unpickable dummy and the old-fashioned chip and chase. All the things that make you fall off your seat and reach for the remote control to make sure you saw what you saw.
Let it be known, Panthers fans: not since Preston Campbell fooled both watertight defences and experienced cameramen alike will the foot of the mountains have witnessed a more gifted ball-player in the middle of the park than Peachey.
Case in point #1: His unforgettable non-try on debut for the Sharks last season was probably the best non-try of any rookie of all time. It went a little something like this: a quick-play-the-ball, the awareness to back up his dummy-half before a split-second summation that a chip and chase was his best avenue past the fullback and to the tryline. In a nutshell, Panthers fans, that's your new lock forward.
Case in point #2: He's no George Rose, but the Wellington product is certainly no male model, either. A rigid six-pack is almost a pre-requisite in the modern era, but for magic men like Campbell and Peachey, it doesn't really matter. Not only is the Panthers recruit deceivingly quick, but he's even faster in between the ears.
Case in point #3: Being the nephew of a Sharks legend meant it was widely accepted that Peachey was going to wow Shire audiences for years to come. But after a drawn out negotiation process, the 22-year-old was swayed into avoiding the second-row gridlock in Cronulla and join Gus's rebuilding process in the open confines of Penrith. Just like his football, no one saw it coming.
At just 23 years of age, Peachey is older than the likes of Aaron Woods, Sam Williams, Aidan Sezer, Jorge Taufua, George Burgess, Albert Kelly and Tyrone Roberts. Throw in the fact that he's played just seven NRL games, and you may wonder why we name this late-blooming lock forward a 2014 MVP.
But, now that he's in a team that's ready to embrace his unpredictability and skill set rarely seen in forwards not named Dave Taylor, then remember this new fella Tyrone Peachey, if you hadn't already heard of him before.