More than top spot on the NRL ladder will be on the line in Penrith’s top-of-the-table clash with St George Illawarra, according to Panthers centre Tyrone Peachey.
Penrith have the chance of knocking the Dragons off their perch atop the ladder for the first time this year with a win in front of an expected sellout crowd at Panthers Stadium on Saturday.
However Peachey believes victory could also be the deciding factor in the race for NSW State of Origin spots, with rookie Blues coach Brad Fittler naming his game one team the following day.
Peachey is one of a combined 12 players from both sides considered in contention to be selected.
“I’m just happy to be in the conversation at the moment,” Peachey said.
“We’ve got a tough test this weekend and if we win, I think that puts everyone at the club in a good position to get picked. I’ll just be having my fingers crossed all weekend.”
“I’ve dreamed and watched Origin my whole life.
“To be involved in that Blues side in Origin would be awesome. I’m hoping we get the win this weekend and I have a pretty good game and hopefully get the call from Freddie, that’d be pretty good.”
Peachey has been coached by Fittler on three occasions during the discontinued City-Country fixture – twice selected at lock and once in the centres.
He said Fittler’s strength was uniting teams during camps.
“Even though we didn’t know each other at the end of the week, everyone wants to play for each other. Everyone buys in to whatever he has to say,” he said.
“You can’t really question Freddie because of what he’s done. He’s a pretty good coach.”
Peachey could be one of up to four Panthers in the NSW team, including James Maloney, Nathan Cleary and Reagan Campbell-Gillard.
Cleary made a successful return from a knee injury last week, forcing Peachey back to the centres.
“Five-eighth you do have the ball in your hands a lot more and in the centres you’ve just got to go sniff around and try find it. The way I play footy is like that and it ended up working out,” Peachey said.