‘Victim of versatility’: Holbrook perplexed by Peach
TITANS coach Justin Holbrook admits even he isn't sure about Tyrone Peachey's best position but says young gun AJ Brimson is all but assured of assuming the fullback role next season.
A valuable bench utility in three Origin appearances for NSW in 2018, Peachey has become a victim of his own versatility across his 137-game NRL career.
After making the move from Penrith to the Gold Coast this year, the 28-year-old was again unable to nail down a permanent spot, starting the season in the centres before spending time in the second row, at five-eighth and on the bench.
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With two years remaining on a deal reportedly worth $1.5 million, finding a home for Peachey is one of the most pressing assignments for new Titans coach Holbrook.
However, it is a task proving to be easier said than done.
"As everyone agrees on, his versatility is unbelievable. He's got a number of positions he can cover and I don't know his best position," Holbrook said.
"The more I watch of him, (I think) gee he's good in the centres, he's good in the back row, he's good at lock, he can play five-eighth, he's smart enough. I watched him as a young bloke coming through as a 13 and he terrorised sides as a lock forward.
"It's always hard with those utility players because of that (versatility). I haven't found one that actually likes saying 'I'm a utility and play anywhere'. They generally say they're best suited to one position.
"As a coach, the strength of having somebody like Peach is awesome because he can cover all those positions. If he happened to not win a starting spot (next season), it's an absolute luxury having a bench player who can cover nearly every position on the field for those days when you lose someone in a key position early.
"I don't want to pigeonhole him to the bench because if he's good enough and we think he's our best back rower then we'll start with him. It's a tough one (to answer) having only been here for a few weeks."
Finding a home for Brimson, however, has been less problematic.
The 21-year-old has played in the halves and at fullback during his 36 games with the Titans but Holbrook said the retirement of Michael Gordon had opened the door for a permanent run in the no.1 jumper.
"It is early and I said to the players when I came in 'it's a fresh start', so from now until Christmas' it's about observing them at training. But AJ, I'm 98 per cent sure he'll be fullback," Holbrook said.
"He can play in the halves or at nine if we have to so I don't want to be 100 per cent committed … but we're training him up as best we can for him to be fullback."