Penrith Panthers general manager Phil ‘Gus’ Gould has issued an emotional farewell to outgoing utility Tyrone Peachey at the club’s annual presentation night.
The Wellington Cowboys junior is set to depart for the Gold Coast Titans for the 2019 season, after there was no longer room for him within the Panthers’ salary cap.
Speaking in Peachey’s absence on Wednesday night, Gould broke down in tears as he recalled how the now State of Origin player came to the foot of the mountains.
“Tyrone Peachey, he means so much to me, this kid. I don’t even know if I can do this,” Gould said.
“I remember having a conversation with Tyrone, he was playing in the lower grades at Cronulla and we recognised him as a unique talent.
“But at the time, he sat down and he was so humble and he said ‘why are you asking me to come to Panthers?’ And I said ‘because I believe you’re an NRL player of the future and I believe you’ll be an Origin player. That’s what I see in your future.’ And thankfully both things happened at our club. I’m so sorry to be losing him.”
Peachey played just seven games for the Sharks in 2013 before moving to the Panthers for the 2014 season.
He slowly but surely made his mark at Penrith and, while frequently used off the bench as an impact player, he struggled to burst through to the starting 13.
After proving his worth at centre and fullback, Peachey has previously expressed a hope that moving to the Gold Coast would see him given a start in the number 6 jersey.
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His talent was further highlighted on Monday when he was named in Australian Kangaroo coach Mal Meninga’s new-look Test side to face New Zealand and Tonga later this month.
“Corey [Harawira-Naera, another departing Panther] and Tyrone are purely salary cap things and as I’ve said a number of times over the last couple of years … as players become more and more valuable it’s going to be harder to keep players,” Gould said.
“And that reality is starting to bite and that’s why it’s so important that we get as much success as we can while we still have this time together.
“Those two players meant a lot to me, they’ll always be Panthers, they’ll always be welcome at this club.
“I’m only buoyed by the fact that they’ve both got great deals and can set their families up for life with the deals that they have and we wish them all the very best of luck.”