Dave craves first hit-up
HE IS excited and grateful for the chance to start in his first State of Origin match - in Sydney tonight - but if he had his wish Dave Taylor would change one aspect of the Queensland team structure.
"What I remember most about the Origin footy I watched as a kid was that first hit-up from the kick-off," he said.
"I was probably eight or nine years old at the time and back then I loved seeing the big collisions. Shane Webcke was just fearsome the way he charged in to the opposition from the kick-off.
"It was awesome. Even as a youngster I thought how great it would be to get out there and do that when I grew up."
After five appearances from the interchange bench over three series, Taylor gets his chance for the ultimate adrenalin rush tonight following the withdrawal of former Broncos teammate Sam Thaiday with a shoulder injury.
But he won't be carting the ball into the furnace which is sure to meet the kick-off return.
"No, not this time anyway. That job goes to one of our props, either Matty Scott or big Petero (Civoniceva)," he said. "Maybe, some day, I will get the chance."
And Taylor has confirmed what most rugby league enthusiasts think - he is a latent fullback in the body of a second rower.
Once a five-eighth in his days at St Brendan's College, Yeppoon, Taylor confided that his heroes while growing up were not Webcke, Gorden Tallis or Paul Harragon, but nimble-footed Brett Mullins, David Peachey and Darren Lockyer.
"I just loved the way those blokes were able to run the ball back and beat tackles. They were exciting to watch," he said.
Taylor understands his penchant for attack will need to be put on the backburner for much of tonight's match, expected to be played on a slippery surface in front of a sell-out Blues-dominated crowd.
He knows his role will be as much a bodyguard as rampaging destroyer.
"I'm really happy with my defence this season," says the 23-year-old man mountain whose weight fluctuates between 120 and 125kg.