Angry … Dave Taylor faces up to Cooper Cronk. Photo: Getty Images
SOUTH SYDNEY teammates have defended forward Dave Taylor over allegations his lack of discipline cost the Rabbitohs dearly in Saturday night's 24-6 loss to Melbourne.
Souths players admit they were never really able to build pressure in the match after conceding eight penalties - three of which were against Taylor - but no one in the team wanted to point the finger at the giant forward.
''Dave is a massive part of our team and he can certainly do things that others can't so we are happy he is in our squad,'' prop Sam Burgess said.
''Dave cops some criticism and I think it is unfair at times but I am sure he can't wait to get out there and rectify what he did wrong this weekend.''
Fellow prop Roy Asotasi said that giving away five penalties in the first half had the Rabbitohs on the back foot but he didn't want to blame Taylor.
''It is a team sport so blaming one guy for giving away three penalties isn't right,'' Asotasi said. ''We should have still been able to handle that like most situations throughout the year.
''When we look at the video we will be wanting to find out the reasons we gave away those penalties and why Dave Taylor gave away those three penalties.''
Taylor was penalised for a grapple tackle late in the match but neither he or Melbourne's Jaiman Lowe are likely to face contrary conduct charges from the match review committee today.
However, Melbourne back-rower Kevin Proctor is expected to be charged over a second-half lifting tackle that may end his season.
The Rabbitohs believe that reducing the penalty count, which finished 9-8 to the Storm on Saturday night, and holding onto the ball will help them achieve the club's first finals win in 25 years against Canberra on Saturday night. ''We gave a lot of penalties away in crucial areas and they are a good side so they managed to get a few early points,'' Burgess said.
''We weren't good defensively either as a group. We have got to work hard this week because it is going to be another tough game.''
Asotasi added: ''We never really got into our game and giving away so many penalties in the first half was always going to make our task tough against a side like Melbourne.''