State of Origin life turns full circle for big Dave Taylor

Dave Taylor has answered an SOS from Maroons selectors as a replacement for Corey Parker. Picture: GETTY IMAGES
Dave Taylor has answered an SOS from Maroons selectors as a replacement for Corey Parker. Picture: GETTY IMAGES


His attitude was once so questionable Queensland coach Mal Meninga contemplated never selecting him for Origin again.

But Dave Taylor has suddenly emerged as an unlikely saviour after answering an SOS from a desperate Maroons ahead of next week's must-win State of Origin game two in Sydney.

The hulking Gold Coast Titans forward entered an Origin camp for the first time in two years after Broncos backrower Corey Parker was ruled out on Wednesday with a facial fracture, adding to the Maroons' injury crisis.

Reigning eight-time champions Queensland have already lost Cooper Cronk (broken arm) and Josh Papalii (ankle) and are sweating on Greg Inglis (ankle), Billy Slater (shoulder) and Daly Cherry-Evans (knee).

Taylor still seemed an Origin long shot after he appeared to burn bridges in his last campaign in 2012.

Meninga took the naturally gifted Taylor under his wing at the Maroons camp in 2011 and the following year again tried to provide guidance but lost his patience by 2012's game three.

Since then Taylor was leapfrogged in the Origin queue by backrowers Ben Te'o and Chris McQueen.

New Zealand Warriors forward Jacob Lillyman - who had not played Origin since 2011 - even got a call-up before Taylor in Queensland's initial 21-man game two squad.

However, Meninga gave the strongest indication yet that Taylor will play after pushing for an all-forward interchange on Wednesday.

"I still hold the view we should go with four forwards on the bench," he said.

Queensland captain Cameron Smith warmed to the thought of Taylor running out in game two.

"He has been playing well for the Titans," he said of Taylor who played six Origins from 2010-12.

"He's big and aggressive, the type of bloke you need at this level.

"And he has Origin experience.

"It is disappointing to lose Corey. But hopefully Dave can come in and do a good job for us."

Titans and Maroons teammate Nate Myles said Taylor had matured since his last Origin appearance.

"He's changed his ways in ways that people don't see a lot of," he said.

As Taylor was ushered into Queensland's Gold Coast camp, Parker cut a devastated figure when he fronted the media on Wednesday.

Parker said he contemplated risking permanent eye damage by playing game two before Meninga ensured sanity prevail.

"The position it [break] is in it can jeopardise your eyesight and have permanent double vision with another knock," Parker said.

"I guess Mal made the decision for me. The hard thing is to leave the boys and the feeling that you are letting them down."

Broncos No 7 Ben Hunt is on standby for Cherry-Evans, Will Chambers for Inglis and Anthony Milford for Slater.

"At the moment confidence is not a word I would use. I am hopeful," said Cherry-Evans, sporting a knee brace. - AAP


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