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Dave Taylor didn’t play for Queensland last night but he still found himself a star on social media after a screenshot of him seemingly giving the finger to NSW lit up Twitter and Facebook.
The Rabbitohs forward was dropped from the Maroons line-up after a low-key effort in game two in Sydney but turned up at Suncorp Stadium to lend his support.
That apparently included flipping the (Greg?) bird to the Blues in the dying seconds of the game, with a screenshot in the 79th minute showing him hoisting his enormous middle digit as Queensland wound down the clock in its dramatic 21-20 victory.
Taylor says he has no recollection of the incident but he has been rebuked by the Queensland Rugby League who have sent the Maroons forward a letter expressing their disappointment with his actions.
Speaking at Sydney Airport after arriving back from Brisbane this afternoon, Taylor said he did not remember making the gesture.
"I think I was just caught up in the moment. That is all it was. I was very passionate. I didn't even realise I did it to tell you the truth," said Taylor.
"I think it was just the true passion come out in me ... It wasn't directed at anyone. It was just in the moment, I was just cheering and the bird come out ... I was just hyped up and very excited."
Taylor played down the incident when asked at what point in the game it occured.
"See I can't even remember when I did it. I don't know what the big deal is. I was just very passionate. It wasn't directed at anyone. I think a lot worse has come out of the game than that little finger.
"I was just showing my true colours.
"It is quite shocking that all of you guys have turned up over a little thing like this."
When told it was creating a storm on social meda, he said "Is it. Well how about we just keep it there."
Taylor's actions have embarrassed QRL officials, who today sent him a sternly worded letter explaining such behaviour would not be overlooked.
‘‘We don’t condone this type of behaviour,’’ QRL boss Rob Moore, who sent an official notice to the 23 year-old expressing the QRL’s disappointment, told AAP today.
‘‘We’re very disappointed in Dave’s actions,’’ Moore said.
‘‘As coach Mal Meninga and his staff have worked hard to instill the highest of team values and one of those is having the utmost respect for the opposition.
‘‘This behaviour is out of character for players who have been involved in our Origin program.
‘‘We have today written a letter to Dave expressing our disappointment.’’
The incident brings back memories of Queensland firebrand Chris Close giving the finger to the NSW bench after Queensland’s golden point victory in the opening game of the 2005 series.
Gordon Tallis sent NSW scribes into overdrive in 2002 when he aimed a similar gesture at a group of Blues fans following Queensland’s 18-all draw to retain the series. It was later revealed he was retaliatating after a slur directed at his mother.
Taylor’s effort won’t be appreciated by NSW fans, players or coaches. Ricky Stuart, who was thoroughly gracious in defeat last night, has already suggested Queensland players aren’t pin-ups for sportsmanship once they return to clubland and Taylor's actions might give him fuel to the fire.
The fact he had been dropped from the squad will only make it more infuriating for the Blues, unless of course it's revealed he was aiming it at Queensland selectors for dropping him in the first place.
It will only add more theatre to one of the truly great Origin nights, one where Cooper Cronk had two states holding their collective breath before his 75th minute field goal gave Queensland a 21-20 win and a remarkable seventh straight series victory.
Maybe Taylor was just reminding NSW of the difference in the scores.
with Brad Walter and AAP