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Origin takes toll on Peachey despite limited minutes

NSW utility Tyrone Peachey has detailed the emotional toll the Holden State of Origin series has had on his game despite limited minutes across the three-match series.

Blues coach Brad Fittler used Peachey for just 36 minutes throughout the campaign, numbers that would suggest his ability to back up for the Panthers would come with ease.

But Peachey has no problem with being rested for Penrith in Friday night's clash with Cronulla.

The club also omitted NSW halves James Maloney and Nathan Cleary - who played all three games from start to finish aside from Maloney's 10-minute sin-bin stint on Wednesday night - with Jarome Luai and Tyrone May to step up for the Panthers in their absence.

Peachey's omission highlights the mental strain an Origin series has on a player regardless of their time spent on the paddock. The 26-year-old was unaware he had been ruled out of Friday's clash by coach Anthony Griffin until he was told on Thursday afternoon.

"I think just the emotional build-up with the games being so intense, I didn't expect the mental drain that could come with it," Peachey told

"I feel like I played a lot longer on the field than I did. There is so much pressure around the game, so much media and expectation. But it's been great, it was everything I expected the series to be.

"I got a few more minutes [in game three] which was alright, it was good to experience the Origin feeling up there.

"I would've played for Penrith if I was needed but if Hook's given me a break, that's OK too."

Cleary made no secret of the fact his first Origin campaign had consumed his world since returning from a knee injury in May.

NSW and Penrith halfback Nathan Cleary.
NSW and Penrith halfback Nathan Cleary. ©Gregg Porteous/NRL Photos

The 20-year-old played every minute across the three matches and welcomed a break.

"I can't wait to be home, lay in my own bed and put my feet up for a few days," Cleary said.

"To get a rest and just chill. The body is alright, it's just general soreness. The three games have all been tough and Wednesday night was no different.

"It is good for me to just lay low, to take it all in with everything that has happened, then turn my focus to Penrith next week and making a strong run to the finals."

Cleary was confident the series would hold him in good stead in future Origin clashes despite a quiet input for a halfback across the series.

Maloney was the dominant playmaker at the higher level given his experience, with Cleary happy to settle for a back-up role – an opposite approach to their time at the Panthers.

"It was a massive learning experience to be a part of," Cleary said.

"Hopefully I can improve and build on that series, that's the idea if I can remain in the side over the next few years.

"I'll take moments over the course of the series and apply them into club games to get better from here."

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