League: Coach prods Taylor for his best as sides shuffle

By Ed Jackson

Dave Taylor.
Dave Taylor.

Gold Coast coach John Cartwright has challenged Dave Taylor to inspire a weakened Titans following his State of Origin snub.

Taylor was overlooked by Queensland selectors for next week's Origin opener despite the indifferent form of Chris McQueen and Josh Papalii.

But his omission at least means one of Cartwright's big names is available for Saturday's NRL clash with the Warriors with several players unavailable, suspended or injured.

"He has to [step up] if [playing Origin] is his ambition," Cartwright said of Taylor. "They're not going to want guys who kick stones and I've got no doubt he won't.

"He's in the best form he's been in at our club over the last six weeks and I expect him to do the same."

Aidan Sezer (pectoral) and Ash Harrison (neck) are long-term casualties while Nate Myles (Origin) and Greg Bird (suspended) are also unavailable.

Albert Kelly will return in place of Sezer while Will Zillman has been named as captain despite facing a concussion test later in the week.

The Warriors have chosen Kevin Locke to start on the wing and Ngani Laumape at centre.

Ben Henry moves to the back row, Ben Matulino is slotting in at prop and Suaia Matagi is going back to the bench, where Silive Havili returns.

Reni Maitua and Moses Mbye are the new halves combination for Canterbury in tomorrow's clash with the Sydney Roosters. Krisnan Inu will make a first NRL appearance this season with Chase Stanley moving to centre while Dale Finucane starts in the second row.

Halfback Mitchell Pearce returns for the Roosters while Samisoni Langi and Mitch Aubusson come in for Daniel Tupou and Michael Jennings.

Wests Tigers have picked Joel Luani to replace NSW hooker Robbie Farah while Marty Taupau starts at prop for Aaron Woods.

Their opponents, Brisbane, have named Ben Hannant, Lachlan Maranta and Jake Granville. Recruit Martin Kennedy has been recalled.

Canberra will aim to halt their losing run against an understrength North Queensland on Sunday. Curtis Rona, Ray Thompson, Jason Taumalolo, Ashton Sims and Ethan Lowe come into the starting side.

Raiders enforcer Papalii is out after making the Maroons squad, while playmaker Mitch Cornish will make his NRL debut from the interchange bench.

South Sydney have named Nathan Merritt as the replacement for Queensland star Greg Inglis.

The Sharks have named Daniel Holdsworth at five-eighth while Tinirau Arona and Chris Heighington take the starting spots of NSW representatives Paul Gallen and Luke Lewis.

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