Peachey rediscovers Indigenous culture

Tyrone Peachey is an "everywhere man" for the Penrith Panthers on-field but is proving to be just as irreplaceable within the Indigenous community off the paddock.

At eight years of age, the Wellington-born utility moved to Cronulla with his parents, who took responsibility of a boarding house in the Shire for other Indigenous children to live and be educated, and Peachey grew up alongside them. 

Penrith's exodus of players in recent years has left Peachey and prop-forward Leilani Latu as the only recognised Indigenous representatives at the club and the 25-year-old has taken on a large amount of responsibility at the foot of the mountains without complaint. 

Peachey is heavily involved in the Panthers' 'Sticks to Stadium' program where he uses his rugby league profile to inspire, empower and educate youths in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities. 

Indigenous Welfare officer and the Panthers' Indigenous jersey designer, Glen Liddiard, admitted he sometimes feels bad asking Peachey to continually help out, however the demand is overwhelming in the Penrith and rural areas that he has no other choice. 

"We've got that many Aboriginal organisations, schools, corrective and juvenile justice services that request for us to come out and see the kids, so "Peach" has been the key man heading to them… he's been flat out with it," Liddiard told NRL.com.

"He's a champion and we're lucky to have him in a way because a lot of fellas want to go home after training but whatever I ask him to do, he'll always put his hand up.

"That goes for Leilani as well but he lives a bit further away so I try not to use him too much, but he's never said no. 

"The kids look up to them, when you meet some of these young people and find out how hard their lives have been, it really opens your eyes."

"If you tell them, they'll do it. With mum and dad they won't but for a football player they will."

Glen Liddiard.

Along with school visits and programs, Peachey's community roles continue to evolve with the City Origin centre also involved in 'Adopt-a-School' and 'Panthers on the Prowl'.

Both programs aim to develop self-esteem and self-worth amongst students and enable them to become positive contributors to the local community and wider society as a whole.

"I can say something to them and they won't listen to me, but as soon as it comes out of the mouth of 'Peach' or an NRL player, it's like the gospel," Liddiard said.

"The players don't realise how much power they've got or realise that some kids are hanging off every word they say. If you tell them, they'll do it. With mum and dad they won't but for a football player they will."

The former Panther admitted he's seen strong development in Peachey as a person since he joined the club in 2014 and puts it down to his rediscovering of culture and a settled family life.

Peachey celebrated the birth of his first child this year.

"I actually think he (Tyrone) went away from his culture when he first moved down here from Wellington," Liddiard said.

"Not because he wanted to, but because he wasn't around it all the time. But now with the programs he's involved in here, he is certainly back into it."