Titans utility Tyrone Peachey has closed the door on a possible return to Sydney to declare he wants to partner Ash Taylor in the Gold Coast halves for 2020.
Peachey told NRL.com of his frustration at the Titans' dismal season, speculation regarding a mooted mid-season return to Penrith and why he believes he is the man to help bring the best out in the troubled Taylor.
With head of performance and culture Mal Meninga confirming the club had no interest in subsidising Taylor’s pay packet for the 24-year-old to play elsewhere, Peachey confirmed he too has spoken with the 13th Immortal to pledge his loyalty to the Gold Coast.
In the wake of the abrupt end of coach Garth Brennan's tenure and having overcome a pectoral injury, Peachey has been noticeably more upbeat the past two weeks and hopes to use the final three games of the season to convince incoming coach Justin Holbrook he's a genuine option at five-eighth.
"I've had that chat with Mal. My partner's happy and everything, so I told Mal that I want to be here," Peachey told NRL.com, ending speculation he was eager to leave at the end of the season.
"I'm really enjoying the time being at six and I hope that shows on the field.
"I'm really having a good time and I'm loving the challenge of trying to learn.
"I haven't really played much there but I'm enjoying myself there and I'm trying real hard to get better.
"I kind of feel that I could be a really good five-eighth. I'm really enjoying my time there and thankfully Hodgo [Titans senior coach Craig Hodges] gave me the opportunity.
"I put my hand up and I'm just trying to play good footy so I can make it hard for when the boys get back to get their spots back.
"I know I've got a lot to work on. We've got three more games to get through and I would really like to pursue that going into next year's season.
"There's rumours that no one's safe for next year and I'm just trying to put my hand up for that No.6 jersey next year."
Peachey’s opportunity to play in the halves has come about due to the continued absence of Taylor and an Achilles injury to captain Tyrone Roberts.
Taylor appears unlikely to play another NRL game this season but remains an integral part of the Titans equation for the future. Peachey is confident the pair could form an exciting combination.
"I feel that we could complement each other, for sure," said Peachey, a three-time Origin representative for NSW last season.
"He's got a really good kicking game and I know that's something that I really need to work on.
"He's a half that can direct and I know my game is running and playing off-the-cuff.
"It has the potential of being a really good combination but we've got a lot of good players here in Tyrone Roberts and Ryley Jacks.
"There's going to be some healthy competition coming into next year.
"That's a good thing, that's what our club needs. We all need to compete to try and make the best team as possible."
A high-profile recruit viewed as a match-winner capable of lifting the Titans into the top eight in 2019, Peachey admitted the weight of expectation took its toll.
An intense competitor who despises losing, the 28-year-old did not shy away from the fact that his debut season as a Titan has been one to forget.
"It's been hard. It’s been real hard, coming up here with a lot of expectation," Peachey said.
"Being at Penrith for however long I was there, it's such a complete club and they've got a lot of good talent there. They're a club that is growing. They seem to always make the finals and I just thought that always happened.
"Coming up here opened my eyes and made me realise that I need to be better.
"We lost our coach halfway through the year and we were in a bad way. The club in general didn't know how to win.
"It's definitely frustrating losing every week. I hate it and I hope no one in the team likes it.
"We've got the new coach coming in Holbrook and hopefully he can turn the club around in the direction that we need to go."
As for his unlikely success as interim goal kicker that has yielded six goals from seven attempts at an 85.7% success rate – most of which have been from the sideline – Peachey said there was little science to his method.
"I'm just kind of hit and hope," he explained.
"All the kicks I've had to kick have been from the sideline so not much real pressure on me to have to get it.
"I muck around at training a fair bit but the last time I kicked was back in NSW Cup and 20s.
"It was a bit hard at Penrith, I had Nath Cleary and Jimmy [Maloney] in front of me so I wasn't really needed."