HAYDN Peacock has suffered his fair share of injuries during his time playing rugby league but they are nothing compared to what happened to his ‘tackle’ in a tackle.
The AS Carcassonne second rower is preparing for a clash with his former club, Limoux Grizzlies, a month after suffering from a man’s worst nightmare – a torn penis.
Peacock’s manhood was grasped by a St Esteve Catalans Dragons (UTC) player, who used it to wrestle him to the ground during a French Federation of Rugby League Elite 1 match in February.
The Cronulla-raised Irish international battled through the pain and played on in the match until half-time, before discovering the full extent of his injury.
Peacock, 23, explains the events perfectly in his own words.
“I’ve never really had any big injuries playing footy,” he said when quizzed about his run in the high contact sport.
“Oh, when we played UTC the other week their centre pretty much ripped my dick off.
“He made a tackle by reaching out and grabbing my dick. Have you seen the photo? It’s a classic. They put it on the front page of the paper.
“I took the ball off the scrum and made a half break, and their centre has come across from the inside and reached out in a last ditch effort and has got a hold of my dick with one hand and pulled me down.
“There’s a photo of me screaming in pain, and I finished out the half. The pain was alright and then at half-time I was like, I’ve got to have a look. I checked on it and the skin is half ripped off and I was like, ‘Shit, where’s the doctor? Where’s the doctor?’
“They had to go and get the UTC doctor and he came in and checked it out and he was like, ‘Oh man, you’re going to have to go and get stitches,’ so I had to go to the clinic that night and they had to put 11 stitches around it to put the skin back together.
“I showed all the boys and they were pissing themselves laughing. In all of my career I’ve never heard of anyone having anything like that happen – 11 stitches in the dick. It was the game before we played Lezignan in the Cup.
“I remember I had to strap it all up for the next game. I just had to go around it. The coach wanted me to go out and buy a cup but I’m not going to play with a cup, I’m not going to be able to run. I just had to heavily strap it. It’s all good (now). I got the stitches out and it’s all sweet. No dramas.”
Peacock’s speedy return to the playing ranks was a much-needed boost for the competition leaders, who have a long list of forwards out of action.
Former New Zealand Warriors backrower Vinnie Anderson, props Romaric Bemba and Teddy Sadaoui; and wrecking ball Ty Pau are all sidelined.
Typically a centre, the injuries have forced Peacock into the backrow in recent weeks.
It’s not a position he’s too unfamiliar with after filling the role in under-18s and under-20s at the Sharks.
I was seven or eight years of age and I gave my parents the ultimatum, either I play rugby league this season or I’m not playing sport at all. – Haydn Peacock
He’ll start in the backrow in Sunday’s match against Limoux, the club which gave him his initial start in France after he spent a season with South Wales Scorpions in the UK-based Kingstone Press League 1 competition.
He helped the Grizzlies to the 2013-14 minor premiership, but the side failed to fire in the finals and finished the season empty-handed.
Peacock is determined to earn Carcassonne some silverware this season after it was the same result at the end of 2014-15, despite the club finishing the regular season on top.
“It comes down to how we finish this season,” Peacock said of his chances of returning in 2016-17.
“If we win the competition then that’s happy days, you can leave happy. But if we come away with nothing then there will be that bitter taste.
“This is my third season and for three years in a row we’ve finished the regular season first, but I haven’t won anything. Hopefully this is the year, but I’ll see how this season pans out and we’ll go from there.”
Raised in a sporting family, Peacock grew up playing a range of different sports including football, athletics, gymnastics and swimming – but not immediately rugby league.
His grandfather played football in Ireland, while his father Gary and Peacock’s older brother Mitchell also played football.
However, after two years playing football, Peacock took a stand and decided it was rugby league or nothing at all.
“All my mates were playing rugby league and I still remember, I was seven or eight years of age and I gave my parents the ultimatum, either I play rugby league this season or I’m not playing sport at all,” Peacock said.
“After two years of soccer I just wanted to play footy, and my parents chatted together and Mum was scared about me getting injured and the rest of it.
“My dad has always been real sporty, and we were the same, and that was always a big part of what Dad was about.
“So I knew that when I gave them the ultimatum and I used that against them, so they eventually let me play for the Yarrawarrah Tigers and I went from there.”
Where to from here is the question troubling Peacock.
He’s enjoying his third season in France, but with the potential to represent Ireland at the 2017 Rugby League World Cup in Australia and New Zealand he’s weighing up his options.
He plans to play in the World Cup qualifiers later in the year but is uncertain about playing another season in France, or whether he’d be better served plying his trade in the United Kingdom, or back home in Australia.
“If I stay in France another year, that season finishes in May and that would mean I’ll play no footy until the World Cup in October if I’m lucky enough to get selected,” he said.
“It seems like too long a break so I’d have to go back to Australia or the UK after the season and keep playing.
“But then I’m risking being fatigued or injured after playing for so long and that could also ruin my chances.
“So that’s got me wondering whether I’m better served finishing up at the end of this season and just playing at home or in the championship in the UK next year.”