Gaz’s task is Taylor-made

The Dragons work on their defence during training at WIN Stadium in Wollongong yesterday. Picture: SYLVIA LIBERSt George Illawarra coach Wayne Bennett has put his faith in Mark Gasnier to handle the stern defensive test of controlling South Sydney battering ram Dave Taylor tonight.Taylor – who tore the Dragons apart with a fearsome wide-running display while playing for Brisbane last year – is expected to target Gasnier in his second game since returning to the NRL.The 118 kg giant forms part of an imposing pack set to test the Dragons, who are without suspended NSW prop Michael Weyman and the injured Dan Hunt. Full coverage of the Dragons But Bennett backed Gasnier to handle the workload at ANZ Stadium when he comes off the bench, after slotting him in to defend inside hard-tackling State of Origin player Beau Scott on the right edge.Following their final training session in Wollongong yesterday, Dragons second-rower Ben Creagh said Gasnier could cope with Taylor and the rugged Rabbitohs forwards.”I think so, (Taylor’s) a massive guy and you’ve just got to limit his time to wind up with the ball and that’s what we’ve been trying to practise at training during the week,” Creagh said.”(It’s about) getting our line speed right and putting as much pressure on him as we can.”Boom teenager Kyle Stanley has been dropped from the 18-man line-up, however, Bennett would not confirm the final make-up for the team.Nick Emmett is likely to start at left centre in Stanley’s place.NSW winger Brett Morris will play tonight after completing yesterday’s training session.While Gasnier is expected to receive less minutes than he did in his return game against Penrith, he completed defensive drills yesterday tackling outside Matt Prior and inside Scott and Jamie Soward.It’s a huge task for Gasnier to stop Taylor and the likes of English import Sam Burgess and the 109kg Garret Crossman, having made few tackles while playing French rugby since leaving the NRL in 2008.On the other side of the field, Creagh has his own point to prove after being dropped for the NSW team for last week’s third Origin game.Creagh has played the previous five Origin battles, recording one victory against the all-conquering Queenslanders.”There’s definitely a bit of extra incentive to work hard and really try and play well for the back end of the season,” Creagh said.”(NSW coach Craig Bellamy) rang me before the third team got selected and let me know why I didn’t (get picked).”And I understood why I didn’t.”They weren’t major things, they’re things I can just work on and that’s what I’ve been trying to do.”
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