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2016 CITY Origin Headshots Photo.
Cabramatta Leagues Club. Monday the 2nd of May 2016

Photographer – Anthony Johnson © NRL Photos

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Tyrone Peachey knows all too well that if his parents had not moved to the city when he was 10 years of age there were no guarantees he would have ever played for Country.

When the names of players representing City and Country in Sunday's AAMI Country-City clash were submitted his was the only one that made mention of his formative years playing rugby league in Wellington in western New South Wales.

When he was signed up to play for Wellington at five years of age he was more intent on chasing grasshoppers than grubbers and the reality is that his path to the NRL might not have been quite so smooth had his parents not left the country behind to move to Sydney.

Peachey's father Martin and his uncle Mick – both legends of bush footy – were each invited to the big smoke to showcase their considerable football talents but both lasted only a short time before packing up and heading west again.

It's a scenario Peachey has seen played out amongst countless kids from the country and why he will wear the City Origin jersey with pride.

"It would have been a lot different because there are a lot of players that come up from the country and get homesick and want to go home and they end up doing that," Peachey told of his life had it remained regional.

"They end up losing out on an NRL career or making a living so I think I'm pretty lucky and I'm pretty happy that my parents did move up there when I was pretty young.

"Dad come up for a bit and ended up getting homesick. He played with Easts, Arthur Beetson brought him up, and he just got homesick and wanted to go home.

"I didn't get homesick or anything or want to go home or anything like that. I had all my mates with me there at Cronulla."

One of those friends would eventually become Chad Townsend, now a City Origin teammate who was denied a junior grand final victory with the Yarrawarrah Tigers at the hands of Peachey's Cronulla-Caringbah Sharks.

"I was nervous going down to Sydney and the first year I come up I played Chad Townsend in the grand final. We ended up beating them," Peachey recalled.

"I've known Chaddy ever since then and we've played against each other from under-10s up to SG Ball. I played SG Ball with him and played all through 20s with him so it's crazy to now get picked in this team and be playing together."

But as much as his life has been shaped by city living, the 24-year-old can't deny that there will be a few disappointed family members if he helps to engineer a win against the Country boys on Sunday.

"When I got picked in this all the family were a bit filthy. They think I'm from the country but I'm just happy to be picked in either team," said Peachey, whose nan and aunty made the trip from Wellington to watch him play with the Panthers in Bathurst last weekend.

"Family wise they're all back out west so if I want to go back and see them I have to go back there.

"Growing up in Sydney was a good thing. My parents moved up there when I was pretty young so I didn't get homesick and want to go home so that was a good thing."

This article first appeared on

Acknowledgement of Country

Penrith Panthers players and staff respect and honour the traditional custodians of the land and pay our respects to their elders past, present and future. We acknowledge the stories, traditions and living cultures of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples on the lands we meet, gather and play on.