Taylor handed shot at redemption
Out-of-favour forward Dave Taylor has been handed an opportunity to win back the trust of Titans coach Neil Henry against the team he terrorised with a first-half hat-trick 12 months ago.
Taylor's recall at the expense of injured Ben Ridge (knee) is the only certain change among a litany of possible permutations to face the Warriors at Cbus Super Stadium on Saturday afternoon with captain Nate Myles unlikely to back up having injured his right foot playing for Queensland in Origin II on Wednesday night.
Mid-week recruits Chad Redman (Knights) and Nene Macdonald (Roosters) are both expected to make their debuts for the club but the final make-up of the 17 won't be announced until an hour before the scheduled 5.30pm kick-off.
Having missed last week's win over the Bulldogs, Henry did confirm that Taylor would be making a return against the Warriors, even hinting that he could be used at centre for the injured Brad Tighe (shoulder).
Runner-up in club player of the year voting last year, Taylor missed the first two games of the season due to a club-imposed suspension and has struggled to overcome a crisis of confidence over the past three months.
Like Wayne Bennett and Michael Maguire before him, Henry has been frustrated at an inability to extract consistently high quality performances from the one-time Test representative but said his attitude at training had been positive in light of his non-selection last week.
"We'll find out when he runs out onto the field tomorrow at 5.30," Henry said of Taylor's reaction to being dropped. "Hopefully it's a positive response.
"He knows that he probably should have been playing Queensland Cup last week and that he needs to get certain aspects of his game better for the team.
"We know what he can produce, he just needs to do it on a regular basis.
"He's been energetic at training and doing some extras so I haven't seen any dip in attitude at all."
Described by one source "as complex as he is simple", the 26-year-old is contracted to the Titans until the end of next season but has been linked with moves to the UK Super League or even rugby union.
In nine appearances this season Taylor is averaging 108 metres and 18 tackles per game and needs to rediscover his best form in order to keep his spot according to Henry.
"His form dropped a little bit, his confidence dropped and he wasn't able to get good minutes on the field and quality in that time," Henry said of his start to the season.
"He's had short stints out there and we probably expect a bit more and it's probably a bit reflective of how our other forwards have been going. They've been doing a good job so he's had to battle for his spot in the end.
"I think I've been more than fair and shown faith in selection but Matt Robinson had been playing great footy at Tweed, he needed an opportunity, Lachlan Burr's done his job, 'Ridgey' had come back from injury and was going quite well so it was about finding a spot for Dave in the team."
Sporting a more closely cropped haircut at the captain's run on Friday morning was all the indication Nate Myles needed to believe his former Maroons teammate will respond in the right fashion against the Warriors.
"He's got a new haircut. Any time Dave gets hit with a challenge Dave comes in with a fresh haircut so hopefully it will be good," Myles said.