THE GOLD COAST Titans may not have won Saturday’s clash against the New Zealand Warriors but there was a shining star for the home side.
Snubbed by Queensland’s Origin selectors, Dave Taylor took his frustrations out on the Warriors, scoring a hat trick of tries in the sides 24-16 loss at CBus Super Stadium.
The Coal Train’s full head of steam had Titans coach John Cartwright glowing despite a gallant loss.
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“His first 40 minutes of play, you don’t get much better than that,” Cartwright said.
Overlooked by the Maroons for the second straight year, Taylor showcased his immense power and talent with a blockbusting 143 run metres.
Every time the Warriors scored in a tit-for-tat opening half, it was the 120kg second-rower who responded with a try of his own.
They came in a variety of manners but ended with the best on the stroke of halftime by finishing a length-of-the-field movement by going himself 25m out, dummying to his support, bumping off Sam Tomkins and swivelling over.
Beau Henry kicked the sideline conversion for a 16-14 lead at the break.
But that’s where it ended for the depleted Titans – all one-way traffic in the second half as the Warriors handed Gold Coast their fourth loss from five matches.
Cartwright admitted Taylor had kept his Origin disappointment to himself but expected a recall wasn’t far away on current form.
“He’s been building for a game like that all year. He’s threatened a lot and he’s had some real good patches of play,” he said.
“If he continues to play like that in the first 40 then he’ll keep (the selectors) aware he’s there.”
Meanwhile, Warriors coach Andrew McFadden hailed former Gold Coast Titan Nathan Friend as an ageless star as he helped continue his new club’s stranglehold over his old one.
McFadden believed 33-year-old Friend could emulate Manly great Steve Menzies and play until he was 39 such was his influence and vigour in the Warriors’ 24-16 win over the Titans at Cbus Stadium.
The veteran hooker pulled off the second most tackles and continually helped the Warriors make inroads in the Gold Coast’s defence in a one-way second half.