Mortimer: Taylor will help leaky right side
Gold Coast half Daniel Mortimer has welcomed the return of Origin star Dave Taylor to the Titans' right edge, believing his inclusion will bolster what has become a defensive liability for the club in the opening two rounds.
In the first two weeks of the season 73 per cent of the 11 tries that the Titans have conceded have come through the right-edge defence of Mortimer, centre James Roberts and winger David Mead.
After Matt Robinson started in Round 1 Lachlan Burr was brought into the run-on side against the Panthers last week but Mortimer believes the return of Taylor will help to shore up their shoddy defence.
Taylor returned to the training field on Thursday for the first time since he was charged with drugs offences a month ago and along with Greg Bird and Beau Falloon have been rushed straight back into the team to face the Knights at Cbus Super Stadium on Sunday.
Although more acclaimed for the destruction he can cause with ball in hand, Mortimer believes Taylor's work in defence will help to rectify what he admits has "become a little issue".
"He's an experienced player and I've been playing with two back-rowers who have only played limited games," Mortimer said. "They've done a great job but that experience and confidence comes that bit more with Dave knowing he's seen all the situations before and he gets a feel for the attack.
"We were defending well in the pre-season and last year so I'm confident that Dave can really help me on that edge.
"We're quite disappointed with the start because we finished the year really strongly, our right edge, and most of it is the same this year.
"We felt like we were very strong in defence last year but you're right, it hasn't been the best start."
In his weekly video for NRL.com, former NRL coach Matt Elliott highlights the pressure right-side defences are under from teams who show a preference attacking down their left edge.
Although it was the Knights' right-side that caused the Warriors plenty of headaches in Round 1, Mortimer's former Roosters teammate Joey Leilua did the damage on the left in Round 2 in an ominous sign of the try-scoring mood he is in to start the year.
"I played with him at the Chooks and when he's confident he's very hard to stop," said Mortimer, who played alongside Leilua at the Roosters in 2012.
"A big aim for us will be to get into him early and try and minimise the ball and space he sees because when he gets his confidence up he's a very damaging player.
"He's definitely powerful. Players who try to go at him, he's got that footwork that he can move around you pretty quick.
"People tend to sit back on him a little bit which is something we can't do, we've got to go at him together because if you go at him one-on-one he has got that power to shrug you off and slide out of the tackle.
"It's a big job but if we're going to stop him we're going to have to get up in his face together and work as a team.
"We seem to defend pretty well coming out but defending close to the line we need to get off the line more. We saw on the weekend I was making tackles on Idris (Panthers centre Jamal Idris) two metres out from the line and a big body like that, you can't stop him that close.
"We've really got to focus on getting that inside pressure working for us and we can get up and take those extra couple of metres and make decisions 10 metres out instead of two metres out."