Queensland captain Cameron Smith hopes they have come up with a plan that will finally fire up bench weapon Dave Taylor for their must win Origin clash.
How do you solve a problem like Dave Taylor?
It has stumped rugby league super coach Wayne Bennett, made poker-faced Gold Coast Titans mentor John Cartwright show emotion, and forced Queensland Origin patriarch Mal Meninga to ditch his trusty loyalty card.
But Maroons skipper Cameron Smith believes he may have come up with an answer after an injury-hit Queensland were forced to throw an Origin lifeline to the Titans wrecking ball.
And it’s a plan that sounds so crazy it might just work in their must-win State of Origin game two clash in Sydney on Wednesday night – ensure Taylor doesn’t think too much.
The questionable attitude that prompted Meninga to consider not picking Taylor again in his last Origin campaign in 2012 no longer seems an issue.
Making sure he takes the right option on the field still clearly is, judging by Meninga’s pre-Origin II tough love stance.
Asked to sum up Taylor’s six previous interstate games, the Maroons mentor said the hulking utility “hasn’t done a job for us in the past”.
It echoes the thoughts of seven-time NRL title-winning mentor Bennett who described Taylor as “a coach’s bloody nightmare” during his time at the Broncos.
And even the impassive Cartwright has cracked, suspending the ex-Test utility last April for a fortnight for a “disciplinary breach”.
However, Smith has opted for a charm offensive to harness a largely untapped power that he admits they need to keep alive their quest for nine straight Origin series wins.
“What do I want from Dave? I want to see him play the way he has for the Titans all year,” he said of Taylor, who looks set to start on the Maroons bench.
“He has been physical and aggressive.
“We (Storm) played the Titans earlier in the year and he was almost unstoppable (in Gold Coast’s shock 28-26 round five win in Melbourne).
“Origin is a different brand of footy but it doesn’t take away his ability to run hard and be a threat to the Blues.”
And his plan to jump-start Taylor’s Origin career is simple.
“I just think Dave needs a simple mindset,” Smith said.
“When he gets the ball, just run as hard as he can and make it hard for the Blues to stop him.”
Asked what may have held 25-year-old Taylor back in the past, Smith said: “It might be his mental preparation.
“Although he has been around the NRL a long time he is still a young guy.
“I think you might see a different Dave Taylor now he has an opportunity to put himself in a good position to play a fair few games for Queensland.”