Dave locked and loaded for QLD
ON the back of a barnstorming Man of the Match performance for South Sydney on Sunday, Blackwater’s Dave Taylor has exploded into State of Origin calculations.
Named on the bench for Game Two, coach Mal Meninga was obviously impressed with the form displayed by Taylor, who will be used as the Maroons’ strike weapon.
The former Crushers junior and 2010 Maroon debutant was last month relegated to the state side’s 18th man. Taylor was on the receiving end of some stern criticism from within his camp by Rabbitohs coaching mentor Gordon Tallis, who questioned his fitness and ability to last the distance among the game’s elite.
Taylor’s response was to let his feet do the talking. On Sunday, the 118kg back-rower led an inspirational charge against the Melbourne Storm with strong runs, deft offloads and a high-flying mark, more reminiscent of Australian Rules football than league, to score in the game’s opening minutes. Controversy surrounded Taylor’s exploits in the second half after a potentially game-breaking try was disallowed by match referee Ben Cummins.
Reaching out to score just inches from the line, Cummins ruled Taylor’s try was grounded short and decided not to refer the call to the video match official. At the post-match press conference Taylor was understandably puzzled as to why the line decision was not given the benefit of a second opinion.
“He ruled a knock-on. I didn’t think it was. It was either on the line or it wasn’t,” Taylor said.
“They go upstairs for a lot less than that.
“I don’t know why he didn’t go upstairs.
“I definitely didn’t think it was a knock-on.”
The setback played a big part in the Rabbitohs’ 16-6 loss to the Storm but was far from the only mitigating factor behind the defeat.
“You can’t use one little incident to say you win or lose the game from it,” Taylor said.
Taylor’s Origin call-up comes after reports the Queensland side is planning on using a more expansive game plan than what was seen in Game One. With a more up-tempo strategy predicted to be unveiled by NSW, Maroons selectors are said to be looking to the hard-hitting prowess of Taylor to combat the faster pace.