There’s no time like the present to unleash Ash Taylor into the theatre that is State of Origin.
Current State of Play
It was evident on Sunday night during the second Origin clash that Ben Hunt doesn’t quite have the magic to turn a game on the big stage. Poor kicking options in Melbourne were backed up in Sydney. That kick on the fourth tackle with five minutes remaining that went too far in-goal was a coach killer. It gave the Blues a seven tackle set took the pressure off a twelve man opponent.
Maroons great and selector Darren Lockyer attempted to defend Ben Hunt saying he was the best long-term prospect for the Maroons. However his comments did not translate into whether the Dragons convert would be selected for the Brisbane game.
The DCE option
Daly Cherry-Evans may be the temporary filler for Hunt if selectors go ahead and make a change. His form has been good in patches for Manly but his off-field drama with recently released Jackson Hastings will go against him. Kevin Walters will be looking for the right cultural fit for his side.
Where Ash Taylor comes into the equation
This leaves Ash Taylor. At twenty-three he’s likely to be the long-term option for the Maroons in the halves. He may be his harshest critic, looking to find consistency with every game he’s played. He’s not as crafty as Johnathan Thurston but he will give the side 110% on the field and not leave any stone unturned.
To play a hard-working Taylor at half would compliment the creativeness of Cameron Munster at five-eighth and provides a good kicking option in general play.
If Brisbane had the money, he’d still be a Bronco and probably being more effective than Kodi Nikorima. It’s probably been a harder proposition to be recognised by selectors playing in what selectors would consider the poorest of the Queensland NRL sides.
But it’s time to take a chance, such as what has worked for New South Wales this year among other things, such as Brad Fittler’s influence. Nathan Cleary at twenty has become an Origin series winner with a no-fuss game, growing in confidence in Sydney as he took on the line more.
If Hunt is axed and Taylor’s name is not called out you have to wonder what Kevin Walter’s long-term plan is for the Maroons.
It’s Ash’s time!
Who should play halfback in the final #Origin game for the Maroons?
— NothingButLeague (@NothingButRL) June 26, 2018