Queensland discard Taylor destroys Panthers
Mon, 02 Jul 2012 1:04a.m.
Queensland coach Mal Meninga may be left to rue the day he dumped David Taylor for this year's State of Origin decider after the NRL's most destructive force responded by taking out his frustrations on Penrith.
NSW coach Ricky Stuart would have been breathing a sigh of relief as he watched Taylor live up to his 'Coal Train' moniker at ANZ Stadium.
Meninga on Friday deemed Origin debutant Ben Te'o a better fit for the Wednesday night's series decider, but Souths skipper and former Maroons forward Michael Crocker claimed his home state had blundered by omitting the giant back-rower.
His clinic in the 38-12 win over the Panthers including a try, a deft pass for a try assist, a try-saving tackle and an acrobatic effort to score a second only to be denied for some of his teammates being offside.
"I think the impact he can bring off the bench ... he's one of those players who can come up with any play," says Crocker, a veteran of 13 Origins.
"Every time he runs the ball he's beating one or two players.
"I know Ben Te'o's going to do an excellent job but I thought Dave deserved the opportunity."
Asked if NSW would be happy Taylor would not be there, Crocker says:
"I think so. I wouldn't want him running at me."
There in his commentary role for the Nine Network, NSW's most successful Origin coach Phil Gould echoed the sentiment.
"I'm glad he's not playing on Wednesday night," Gould says.
Meninga's call to go for Te'o came after Taylor - who will rejoin the Maroons camp as 18th man on Monday - produced quiet displays in the opening two games of the series.
But he showed just how destructive he could be against the Panthers, with Rabbitohs coach Michael Maguire backing Taylor - who celebrates his 24th birthday next Sunday - to bounce back.
"He knew if he came back and just played the way he did today, that's the best way to respond," Maguire says.
"It was great to see him come in and do that for the team.
"Dave's a great player. If he had another chance for Queensland, he'd respond exactly the same way.
"He's 22 and hopefully over the next 10 years he's going to be in that arena for a long, long time.
"You learn a lot from the setbacks that he faced in that last Origin and I'm sure he's going to bounce back."
Taylor's availability and the earlier than expected return of Sam Burgess gave the Rabbitohs enough punch to move them level on competition points with fourth-placed Brisbane.
They leapfrogged North Queensland after the Cowboys - minus four key players due to Origin commitments - went down 35-18 to the Warriors in Auckland.
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