Gold Coast coach Garth Brennan is glad Queensland selectors did not throw his young halfback Ash Taylor into the dead-rubber Origin clash at Suncorp Stadium next Wednesday.
Brennan would not go as far as to say the 23-year-old is not ready for Origin but is adamant the time to blood him is not now with the Maroons side going in without seasoned leaders of the past decade in Greg Inglis, Cameron Smith, Johnathan Thurston and others to support a halfback.
Taylor was 'rocks and diamonds' for the Titans against Wests Tigers last Sunday, scoring a smart try by running the ball but making some poor kicks under pressure.
Meanwhile, Daly Cherry Evans was strong for Manly in their upset win against Penrith and deserved selection, despite a general push for Walters to look to the future and promote Taylor.
"Everyone who follows rugby league knows that Ash Taylor will play Origin at some stage," Brennan said.
"It is very important that Ash makes his debut at the right time. In the past we've seen players get thrown in when not ready, especially in that halfback position.
"The last thing is I want would be for Ash to go into this game and if they didn't get the result he's get made a scapegoat.
"Kevvie has done the right thing by looking after Ash and making sure when he debuts he goes in with some experience around him.
"Being without Greg Inglis is massive [as a blow] for Queensland. The last thing I would like to see is Ash go in there and not be ready and come back low on confidence - that would only hurt his career going forward.
"I want Ash to play Origin more so than anyone; I'm cheering for him and I hope it happens. But it has to be at the right time."
Taylor instead becomes a pivotal figure against his former club Brisbane at Cbus Super Stadium on Sunday, with the local rivals missing six players to Origin between them – Jarrod Wallace and Jai Arrow (Titans) and Josh McGuire, Corey Oates, James Roberts and Andrew McCullough (Broncos).
New South Wales' 18th Ryan James man has been given permission to break camp and play for the Titans if there are no mishaps within the Blues side before the weekend.
The Titans are hoping he can take part in the captain's run session on Saturday and play Sunday before rejoining the Blues squad in Brisbane on Monday.
The Broncos are in eighth place, six points ahead of the Titans with the equation simple – if the Titans can beat their M1 rivals for the second time this season, Brisbane will be a little nervous and the Titans have something to play for in the final eight rounds.
Brennan has promoted Jack Stockwell to start in Wallace's No.10 jersey, and Keegan Hipgrave will go from the left edge back to the middle and wear Arrow's No.13 shirt.
Tongan Test centre Konrad Hurrell returns to the 17 as a utility off the bench and may spend time in the back row, with Morgan Boyle returning to the side as interchange prop.
However, Stockwell and second-rower Will Matthews are battling shoulder injuries and need to prove their fitness by Saturday.