David Peachey Retires at End of Season
5th July 2007
“Since joining the South Sydney Rabbitohs last year, he has provided direction for the younger players in the club and demonstrated that he had not lost his attacking flair or defensive toughness. He is a truly dedicated and committed player. I would also like to commend David for his valuable work with indigenous youth in the wider community and through the David Peachey Foundation. Along with all Australian rugby league supporters, Janette and I wish you well for the future.” – Mr John Howard, Prime Minister of Australia “David Peachey was always a player who delivered value for money to spectators. He could be exhilarating, frustrating and dazzling and the game might only be 15 minutes old. What you were always guaranteed, was a passionate player who was giving it his all, and doing everything humanly possible to break open the game for his team.” – Mr Steve Waugh, former Australian Cricket Captain
Legendary fullback David Peachey has announced that he will retire from the game of Rugby League at the end of the 2007 season today. ‘The Peach’ is a highly regarded member of the Rugby League community and is renowned as one of the best exponents of the fullback position to have played the game. Peachey has been decorated for his work in indigenous communities away from the field of play and is seen as a community leader as well as an elite sportsman. Peachey, 33, has played over 250 NRL games for the Cronulla Sutherland Sharks and South Sydney Rabbitohs, is the most capped indigenous player currently playing, and has scored nearly 500 points in first grade. He has been an influence on countless numbers of players throughout his 14-year career. The Dubbo Macquarie junior was named Dally M Fullback of the Year in 1999, the Cronulla Sutherland Sharks Player of the Year in 1997, 1999 and 2001, was named in the Sharks 40th anniversary team at fullback, won a Deadly Award in 2002 when he was named the Aboriginal Sportsman of the Year, and won the NAIDOC Award for Sportsperson of the Year in 2003. Peachey represented Australia in one Super League Test in 1997, he represented NSW four times in 1997 and 2003, and played for Country Origin in 2003. Peachey’s achievements off the field have been broadly acclaimed, winning the NRL’s Ken Stephen Medal for community service in 2003 and being named as one of the NSW Finalists for the Australian of the Year Award in 2005. Peachey is the founder of the David Peachey Foundation and works closely with the aboriginal community through organisations such as the National Aboriginal Sports Corporation of Australia (NASCA) and Croc Fest. Peachey also conducts the David Peachey Cup alongside the Russell Richardson Shield, a primary school Rugby League knockout competition, each year in his home town of Dubbo. Peachey will not be lost to the game of Rugby League, moving into administration with Souths Cares as the Club’s Indigenous Co-ordinator and also into a role with the Club’s corporate team. “Peach is an inspiration, simple as that,” Rabbitohs CEO Shane Richardson said.
“I remember when Peach first came to Sydney as an 18-year-old to the Sharks and he made an instant impact at the Club. “It has been the same here at South Sydney. His play on the field and his work off the field is a testament to the man he has become and the family which surrounds him. “I’ve seen Peach grow from a boy to a man over the past decade-and-a-half and the respect he commands in the community today is just reward for the work he has put into Rugby League and indigenous communities alike. “I’m now looking forward to watching Peach finish his career in style this season, and then working with him in the administration side of the Club next year. His role will be to work with our indigenous players, help develop our aboriginal community programmes through Souths Cares, and to work with our corporate partnerships team on game day speaking with sponsors and clients and helping them get the most out of their sponsorship dollars with the Club.” Peachey says that he is extremely grateful for the opportunities his career has provided.
“Rugby League has given me everything,” Peachey said. “From my time as a junior in Dubbo, to Richo (Shane Richardson) bringing me to Sydney to start my career, to finishing here at the Rabbitohs, Rugby League means the world to me. “I’ve been lucky enough to represent my country and state, play over 250 games at the top level and to have met many wonderful people over the past 14 years. “I’ve tried to give as much back to the game and the community as it has given me, and now that I move into the next stage of my career I want to keep giving back through Souths Cares and the David Peachey Foundation.” Peachey says his family has been instrumental in his success.
“My uncles Marshall, Martin and Michael Peachey have helped me enormously in my career, they have been the biggest influence,” Peachey said. “Hopefully I’ve had an influence on some young players throughout my career the way they have influenced me.” Upon his retirement Peachey will continue to be heavily involved with the Rabbitohs and the game of Rugby League. He will take on the position of Souths Cares ambassador with the Club’s community initiative Souths Cares. Souths Cares Manager Simon Dirs already works closely with Peachey due to the community partnership between Souths Cares and the David Peachey Foundation and said he was delighted to be strengthening that relationship. “David will be our ambassador and will co-ordinate all of our indigenous programmes,” Dirs said. “He will be heavily involved in all aspects of Souths Cares from existing programmes through to the development and implementation of new ones. His involvement in Souths Cares will be very much a daily, hands-on one that will include regular visits to school and community organisations, motivational speaking to students and mentoring young indigenous players at the Club.” Souths Cares programmes include working with a number of government agencies such as NSW Police and DOCS to provide intensive education and social pathways for disadvantaged children, players mentoring children with troubled backgrounds, a bus painting project in Marourbra and La Perouse and sports based programmes aimed at teaching children the importance of education and health and the dangers of substance abuse. In October Peachey will take part in the Referendum Bike Ride with former Olympian Nova Peris.
Notable Quotes about David Peachey
“Peach is an inspiration, simple as that. His play on the field and his work off the field is a testament to the man he has become and the family which surrounds him.” – Mr Shane Richardson, Chief Executive Officer South Sydney Rabbitohs.
“The effect David Peachey has had on the younger players at our Club has been quite phenomenal. He is a calming influence, a rock they can go to, and someone that they respect. I’ve enjoyed playing against and coaching David and I’m glad he will continue to have a role with the Club next season.” – Mr Jason Taylor, Head Coach South Sydney Rabbitohs
“The community work that I do has all been inspired by David Peachey. He was the one that started all of that for indigenous people and I’ve tried to follow in his footsteps. He’s achieved a lot for a skinny boy from Dubbo and he’s been an inspiration for countless indigenous kids right across the country.” – Mr Dean Widders, South Sydney Rabbitohs player and aboriginal role model
“I would like to wish David all the very best in his retirement from rugby league at the end of this season. Since his debut in 1994, David has had a long and distinguished career playing over 250 first grade games, representing Australia in a Super League test match and NSW in State of Origin and the Super League. David is second only to Andrew Ettingshausen in the number of first grade games with the Cronulla Sharks. Since joining the South Sydney Rabbitohs last year, he has provided direction for the younger players in the club and demonstrated that he had not lost his attacking flair or defensive toughness. He is a truly dedicated and committed player. I would also like to commend David for his valuable work with indigenous youth in the wider community and through the David Peachey Foundation. Along with all Australian rugby league supporters, Janette and I wish you well for the future.” – Mr John Howard, Prime Minister of Australia
“David Peachey is one of those inspirational players that stand out in any era not just for his incredible skill and natural flair but for his commitment to the community. Seeing him end his playing career is certainly a little sad but knowing he has inspired thousands of youngsters and that he continues to do so is great compensation for Rugby League fans.” – Mr David Gallop, Chief Executive Officer National Rugby League
“David Peachey was always a player who delivered value for money to spectators. He could be exhilarating, frustrating and dazzling and the game might only be 15 minutes old. What you were always guaranteed, was a passionate player who was giving it his all, and doing everything humanly possible to break open the game for his team. I’ve admired his loyalty and longevity and sensed he was a father figure to many of his team mates. Perhaps his greatest legacy to the game will come via his own Foundation that aims to unearth the next generation of indigenous kids from outback and rural Australia. May you continue to instill the love of the game to the many kids with similar dreams and aspirations that you once had.” – Mr Steve Waugh, former Australian Cricket Captain
“David Peachey stands as an icon within both the sport of Rugby League and the Aboriginal community. His achievements on the field in his career over the past 14 years will stand the test of time. David brought to the game flair, flamboyance, passion and commitment. These attributes were also displayed in his long standing commitment to Aboriginal people and children across the state. David can be judged as possibly the role model of role models for Aboriginal children, particularly those from his beloved Dubbo in Western NSW. He has lived the message of “Be Smart, Stay Clean, Live the Dream” which he now uses as a creed for Aboriginal children. David has consistently delivered to Aboriginal people, often at his own expense, engaging in a raft of programs, in the main without fuss or fanfare. His willingness to assist a worthy cause is well documented and respected amongst Aboriginal people. David has been an outstanding player achieving the highest accolades the game has to offer, his achievement and influences off the field within Aboriginal communities go beyond those game based achievements. As his playing career draws to a close within the NRL, a new door opens for David. He is a true Ambassador of the game of Rugby League and Aboriginal people. David has shown what is possible when you follow your dream.” – Mr Paul Conlon, General Manager National Aboriginal Sports Corporation of Australia
“My greatest memories of ‘Peach’ are a try he scored in the semi final against the Broncos in ’96 at Aussie Stadium. We had a set play where ‘Peach’ chimed into the backline and then offloaded to ET, but the defence stuck to ET and Mat Rogers who was on the wing had missed the kick. ‘Peach’ headed back in field and had enough pace to beat all of the cover defence to score. It was an amazing try. My other memory is in ’99 when we won the minor premiership and my assistant coach put together a highlights video of all of our good tries throughout the season. We watched it on the bus on our way out to Telstra Stadium for a training session before the semi final and all the guys said ‘Is this the David Peachey show?’ We knew he’d had a good year but the number of tries he was involved in was quite phenomenal.” – Mr John Lang, David Peachey’s original first grade coach at the Sharks
“He’s one of those bigger than life sort of characters, someone that’s always got a smile on his face and that’s what I’ve always loved about ‘The Peach’. Whenever you see him he’s always got the big grin from ear to ear, he gives you the big high five and you really feel welcome and I think that he’s been able to personify that in everything he’s done. From little kids all the way through, everyone loves ‘The Peach’.” – Mr Andrew Ettingshausen – Sharks teammate 1994-2000
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