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Youngsters battle excites Titan McQueen

AAP logoAAP 22/08/2016 Ed Jackson

They're the best young halves in the NRL and Chris McQueen can't wait to watch Ash Taylor and Nathan Cleary do battle this Saturday.

Taylor's Gold Coast host Cleary's Penrith with the Titans chasing a finals spot for the first time since 2010.

A victory for the eighth-placed home team will secure their finals berth and it will be 21-year-old Taylor who will be charged with guiding the Titans into September.

On the other side of the field is Panthers teenager Cleary, who has been a sensation in his 11 first grade appearances since debuting in June.

"He's not playing like an 18-year-old," McQueen said.

"He's playing like someone who has been there for years so that's going to be a big job for us and our right edge, to shut him down and minimise his time and shut down his opportunities."

While Cleary delivered another top notch display as the Panthers smashed Wests Tigers last weekend, Taylor was resting his battered body as the Titans defeated bottom-placed Newcastle.

Taylor will return against the Panthers after his week on the sidelines and McQueen admits the halves clash will be exciting.

"It's going to be a great match-up," he said.

"Cleary has been playing great footy and I think Ash has been going just as good."

McQueen says the chance to rest niggling groin and hip injuries will only benefit Taylor ahead of a likely finals campaign.

"He's still only so young and this is his first full season of first grade so to give him that week off and be able to rest his body a little bit I think he's going to be better for it."

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