To say the Gold Coast Titans are hungry for success is a drastic understatement.
Since their introduction into the NRL competition in 2007, they’ve played finals footy only three times.
In fact, only twice in their history have the Titans enjoyed winning seasons. This meaning that they’ve won more games than they’ve lost.
These came all the way back in 2009 and 2010.
Since then they’ve managed just the one finals appearance, a first-round loss to the Broncos in 2016.
They finished 14th in 2018 where they finished 12 points and a massive points differential behind the 8th placed Warriors.
With all due respect to the 2018 squad representing the holiday strip, it wasn’t shaping as a squad that would bash the door down to play final’s footy in 2019 and beyond.
The Titans brains trust knew they had to launch an aggressive recruitment drive to supplement their undoubtedly talented yet severely under supported young stars.
Big changes in fortunes don’t happen over night but the quickest way to give your club their best chance for a quick advance up the ladder comes via marquee signings.
Whether or not Shannon Boyd is a marquee signing is a discussion for another day, but in Tryone Peachey the Titans have scored an absolute beauty.
They’ve also added Ryley Jacks, Brian Kelly and Tyrone Roberts but the undouted star of the incoming class on 2019 is Origin and Kangaroos rep utility Tyrone Peachey.
I’m not saying that Peach makes the Titans top eight certainties, but he’s arguably the perfect signing for a club that looks strong in some areas yet really light on in others.
Where exactly Peachey will play is still largely undecided, at least from the outside.
He will likely partner Ash Taylor in the halves being that the Titans are best suited with Peachey largely involved. They’re best bet of a return to final’s footy is having the ball in Peach’s hand as much as possible.
AJ Brimson may return to the halves to partner Taylor, although his best position looks as though it may be at fullback. Roberts is another halves possibility, Jacks too, but for mine Peach leads the way.
He could also slot into the back row with hope that a wide running, ball playing Peachey, could really offer a route of the attach the Titans have lacked.
That said, I don’t know if I’d be moving either Kevin Proctor or Ryan James from their starting role, although I still maintain that Ryan James is a far better player in the middle of the field.
If James were to move into the front row, then I can certainly see Peachey returning to the role that he played most of his football in, as a second rower.
Then there’s a chance he could play in the back line, either at fullback, or more likely at centre.
Again, Aj Brimson looks a lock for the number one role in round one, and I wouldn’t change that, but Peach showed some spark at one for the Panthers. Again though, Peach needs the ball in hands as much as possible.
Centre looks a shout. He probably played his best footy in recent years in the outside backs. Copley and Kelly are likely starters, although I’d take Peach over either.
The outside, and quite frankly ridiculous, argument I have seen floated is him playing as a specialist utility off the bench.
Not happening, nor should it.
Peachey needs to be in the starting line up and for mine he has to start in the halves.
Sure, he doesn’t have the kicking game of a Taylor, DCE or the like, but he doesn’t need it. He’s got a clever short kicking game, while Taylor, Brimson and Peats can handle the longer kicking.
Peachey was a victim of his own utility ability in 2018. He never really settled in a position at the Panthers. He played almost everywhere from fullback, center, five-eight, second row and from the bench. He may even have filled in at nine once or twice also.
Given he can enjoy a full off-season preparing for a full time creative role in the halves, I have no doubt we’re about to witness the best of Peach that we’ve seen yet.
He’s a brilliant attacking talent, and given the ability to settle into a full time role for the first time in years, I’m looking forward to seeing what he can produce.
With a big and powerful forward pack in front of him and a former Origin number nine feeding him, there is simply no reason why Tyrone Peachey can’t be a huge star in 2019.
For the Titans final’s hopes to become legitimate, they absolutely need to him to be nothing less.