DAVE Taylor may not be the sharpest knife in the drawer, but he's no fool either. However, he might be being taken for one as the financial issues entangling the Titans start to boil over.
Taylor did not want to leave the Rabbitohs, and unlike Ben Te'o - who seemingly took the big cash that was being paid to Big Dave - was not forced out by salary cap issues. Taylor's wife, Ashlee, simply wanted to move closer to her mother and siblings, who lived in Brisbane.
Born when her mum was a teenager, Ashlee is the eldest of eight kids, and now, with two little girls of her own, craves family support. And big Dave willingly walked the "happy wife, happy life" line, agreeing in March to a four-year deal with the Titans.
Appearing on NRL on Fox on Wednesday night, Taylor denied he was feeling uneasy about the Titans deal and wanted to stay at Souths. But even if that was the case, the horse appears to have bolted.
If - as reported - Te'o is being paid $400,000 a season by the Rabbitohs, the salary cap at Redfern must certainly be bulging. Their roster is not exactly second rate - Asotasi, Burgess, Crocker, Inglis, King, Luke, Merritt and Sutton. And youngsters Everingham, Reynolds, Peats, Clark and Farrell will soon be tugging at the purse strings.
The Titans, meanwhile, are in a fiscal mess with scant light at the end of the tunnel. The real possibility is that the club may go under and a new entity is licensed to run the Gold Coast franchise.
So where now for Dave Taylor? He said on Wednesday night he was concerned only about the remainder of the season with Souths, but that was not the case back in March when he agreed to terms with the Titans.
And what about Souths? Taylor and Greg Inglis are their go-to men and they can ill afford to have Big Dave with his mind elsewhere.
The Gold Coast debacle is affecting more than just the Titans, and the ARLC has an obligation to the game to clean the slate - and soon.
No place for Petero
TAKE it as fact - unless something unforeseen occurs in the next few weeks, Petero Civoniceva will not be selected for State of Origin I in Melbourne on May 23.
My 30-odd years covering rugby league at the top level has taught me that when the state and national selectors are about to drop a bombshell, they like to "leak" that information a few weeks in advance.
That way, when the team is announced, the fans are prepared and not as disillusioned as they normally might.
Petero may well be the most capped rep player in the NRL, but it appears the loyal Queensland selectors feel his best days are behind him.
And despite the concerted push from the likes of Gorden Tallis, the selectors will not be afraid to make a tough call.
Injuries aside, Matt Scott and David Shillington will be the Maroons props, with Ben Hannant on the bench alongside Dave Taylor, Matt Gillett and more than likely Daly Cherry-Evans. Interestingly, also on the radar of the selectors is Josh McGuire, who is 14 years Petero's junior.
Get rid of the hug
MANY idiosyncrasies have entered the game I love in recent years, and I'm not talking about wrestling, the chicken wing or the cannonball.
One particularly annoying habit is the dressing room hug before a game, something that has become so common that even the great Darren Lockyer was joining in towards the end of his career.
Lockyer loathed the practice, but as skipper he felt he had to join in or appear to be a non-team man.
Other modern-day peculiarities include players blessing themselves as they run on to the field, players who have made a mistake being patted on the back or head in a congratulatory manner and varying cryptic messages relayed through the TV cameras.
It seems good, old-fashioned sledging is no longer trendy.
One custom I find particularly irksome is the precarious placement of the mouthguard behind the ear, pre and post-match.
Adam Blair started it and now Tariq Sims is customising the practice, which can only be described as yuk!
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