There’s plenty at stake in the Queensland derby. Picture: Zak Simmonds
There’s plenty at stake in the Queensland derby. Picture: Zak Simmonds

Meninga: Make-or-break Queensland derby

WITH all the Bennett v Seibold hype swirling this week, it is important to remember that there is another game of consequence involving Queensland clubs happening on Friday night.

The Cowboys' clash with the Titans in North Queensland is a season-defining encounter for both clubs.

With both struggling to get off the bottom of the ladder, it will be a true test of character and attitude of both teams and will tell us a lot about their chances for the rest of the year.

While it is a season-defining game for the clubs, it also shapes as a defining game for both star playmakers.

Ash Taylor is struggling for confidence but is working really hard behind the scenes to get it right.

Last weekend against the Tigers, he was starting to run the footy a bit more and putting his body on the line defensively.

Defence is where you build your confidence from, it is where the foundation of your game comes from. Defensively he is working hard, doing extra sessions on the things he needs to improve.

He is also working hard on his mind and his attitude and once he gets that right he has all the right skills to be a dominant player for the Titans.

Ash Taylor must step up for the Titans. (AAP Image/Dave Hunt)
Ash Taylor must step up for the Titans. (AAP Image/Dave Hunt)

I have every confidence Ash will rediscover his best and I will tell you why.

There is needing to do it and there is wanting to do it. He wants to do it.

If you are doing something just because you need to do it, it is out of necessity and you haven't got your heart in it.

Wanting to do it is having the desire and the right attitude to actually get back and be the player he wants to be. And that desire still burns bright for Ash.

He is his own harshest critic at the moment, and he has got a lot of critics, many of whom focus their attacks on his bank balance.

But money shouldn't come into it. Ash was good enough to negotiate a good deal and good on him.

Money doesn't help you on the footy field. It comes down to your skill set and your character as a person, your willingness to put your body on the line, not giving in and helping your mates.

Michael Morgan isn’t far off returning to his best form. (Photo by Matt King/Getty Images)
Michael Morgan isn’t far off returning to his best form. (Photo by Matt King/Getty Images)

I would suggest that Michael Morgan is probably in a similar situation at the Cowboys.

He hasn't had the best start to the season and for him the pressure is compounded but State of Origin is fast approaching.

I know how hard he works behind the scenes and I know he would want to get back into form on Friday night as well.

Having Jason Taumalolo returning from injury will help Morgan's cause. Taumalolo is the spiritual leader for the Cowboys and fires up their forward pack.

With Titans skipper Ryan James out with a season-ending knee injury, the battle between the two locks will be hugely important, with Jai Arrow needing to step up.

Jarrod Wallace also returns for the Coast this week from suspension and it is his time to show State of Origin selectors he is worthy of a recall.

We are only a third the way through the season but you want to be as close to the top eight as you possibly can leading in to State of Origin, to have any real hope of playing finals footy.

It means, the next few weeks are really important for all three Queensland teams.

Everyone goes through those valleys of having low confidence, we all have our ups and downs in life.

At the end of the day it is about how you come out the other side.

News Corp Australia


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