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Peyroux a Dom Perignon of hard hitters

Thursday 8 March 2012 | Published in Regional

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Titans enforcer Greg Bird has backed Cook Islands wrecking ball Dominique Peyroux to become one of the most feared centres in the NRL.

Bird rated Peyroux the Titans’ best in their 18-0 shutout of the Cowboys at the weekend as the 97kg international pulled out some punishing defence on his way to registering 34 tackles.

In comparison, his centre partner Jamal Idris made two tackles.

Fox Sports statistics revealed it was the best defensive effort from a centre since round 20 of 2010 when St George Illawarra’s Beau Scott chalked up 35 tackles.

But if it wasn’t for a finger injury to Storm signing Beau Champion, Peyroux would have been playing for Tweed Heads this weekend in Round 1 of the Intrust Super Cup.

The 23-year-old big-hitter, who’s played just five NRL matches, has a chance of securing a permanent first-grade spot if he can replicate his efforts at Skilled Park on Saturday against Canberra.

Bird said Peyroux had exceeded expectations and Champion, who should be fit for next weekend’s home match against Melbourne, had some stiff competition at right centre.

“He was very good. I think he was our best player,” hardman Bird said.

“If I had to give out the man of the match (he would have got it).

“He’s only going to improve. He combined well with David Mead and his defence was aggressive. He made the right decisions.

“I’m looking forward to seeing how he goes again.

“Beau Champion has got to slip back into the team somewhere and has his work ahead of him with the way Dom Peyroux played.

“He can (become a strike centre). He showed glimpses of it on the weekend.”

Bird was another standout in the Titans’ shock win, clocking the most metres (176) and making 19 tackles in a 64-minute effort.

The NSW back-rower revealed he had been given a licence to roam by coach John Cartwright and his new-found freedom was paying dividends.

“I’m feeling much better for the run now and will feel better on the weekend,” he said after his first match since the All Stars.

“We’ve recruited strongly in the forwards. We don’t have to play massive minutes now because of the class on the bench.

“It definitely showed in the pack last week that we were much tighter and structurally a lot better.

“Carty’s given me pretty vague instructions which is good for me.

“I can pop up wherever I see fit. I think that suits my game.”

Canberra has never beaten the Titans at the Gold Coast in five encounters.