Playing in front of a home crowd may have proven too much for Ash Taylor.
But former Queensland stalwart Sam Thaiday is still convinced the Gold Coast playmaker can step up to rugby league's biggest stage for the Maroons.
Veteran Brisbane forward Thaiday says they are bracing themselves for a Taylor-led backlash in Sunday night's NRL derby at Suncorp Stadium after the Titans' woeful 54-8 last round loss to St George Illawarra.
Thaiday reckons Taylor suffered a major case of stage fright playing in his home town Toowoomba against a rampant Dragons.
However, Thaiday, a veteran of 29 games for Queensland, stillsbelieved Taylor is destined to play State of Origin for the Maroons.
"I think so. He came up with some great plays to get them back into that game against Canberra (in first round)," he said.
"They did miss him against the Warriors (in round two due to injury), their attack was a little disjointed.
"And I think the occasion got to Ash last week, he started well and set up the first try but struggled after that.
"Going back home and playing in your home town for the first time is always daunting."
Taylor will get another chance to put his hand up for Queensland's vacant halves pairing when he runs out in front of Maroons coach Kevin Walters, who will hold the Brisbane assistant reins on Sunday night.
Thaiday said the Dragons' rout had a lot to do with shutting Taylor down but admitted that would be easier said than done on Sunday night.
Despite his quiet season start, Taylor has five try assists - ranked third in NRL - to date after leading the competition with 29 last season.
Taylor had been challenged by coach Garth Brennan to step up and earn his marquee dollars in 2018 after signing a three-year until the end of 2021.
Taylor has been cleared to play Brisbane after avoiding a tripping ban, instead copping a maximum $1500 fine.
Taylor, who made his debut with Brisbane in 2015, is yet to savour a win in four games against his former club since linking with the Titans in 2016.
Gold Coast are desperate for Taylor to spark their attack after scoring just 16 points in their last two matches while also conceding 74.