Dave Taylor during his days as a Gold Coast Titan.
Dave Taylor during his days as a Gold Coast Titan. Matt Roberts

Coal Train now has reduced carriage at Canberra

NRL: Dave Taylor was offered no guarantees by the Canberra Raiders as part of a train-and-trial deal handed to him by coach Ricky Stuart.

Taylor's still yet to sign an NRL contract for the 2017 season, but there's no doubt he means serious business in his search for one. Taylor has put in the hard yards this preseason and the results are clearly showing.

The forward has reportedly stripped 9kg from his hulking frame in just six weeks and is no longer clocking in at the 123kg his player profile suggests.

Taylor is a player who has been on big money at the Gold Coast Titans and South Sydney Rabbitohs, but proved a problem child for both clubs. A stint in the English Super League with Catalans was cut short, after Taylor had his contract torn up, leaving the now 28-year-old with little opportunities in the game.

But it seems the opportunity handed to him by the Raiders has seen a shift in approach. Taylor still needs approval from the NRL integrity unit to resume his career after pleading guilty to two counts of cocaine possession while with the Titans in 2014.

He escaped conviction for his offence and was fined $1000 but must get the tick of approval from rugby league bosses.


Tough session with this massive human @raiderscanberra

A photo posted by dave taylor (@davetaylor091188) on


If the NRL need a sign that Taylor is at least in the process of changing his ways, then the dedication shown on the training track is a start.

The former Australian forward will be given the chance to play in both of the Raiders trials matches. Should he impress, Ricky Stuart is expected to take a chance on Taylor.

"If David achieves his goals and is then offered a small playing fee for 2017 he has made better choices for himself, his family and his football," Stuart told reporters.

"It has shown he has bought in and committed to turning himself around. The Raiders have the resources in turning David into a regular NRL player, but it's up to David to show if he wants it bad enough."

If Taylor can reach his potential, then his signature could be the best of the season. The "Coal Train" has played 170 games for Brisbane, Souths and the Gold Coast since making his debut in 2006.

He has represented Queensland eight times in State of Origin and represented Australia once, back in 2012.

Taylor can be a destructive beast, given his frame. He amazingly played five-eighth in high school, giving him great ball skills, before a shift to the forwards once he turned professional.

If he puts it all together Taylor can return to the representative level he once played at, and it seems Taylor wants to do it in the nation's capital.

The Raiders finished second on the table in 2016, but fell one game short of a Grand Final appearance. With Dave Taylor joining the fold, and seemingly switched on, Ricky Stuart and the Green Machine look to be the one's to watch in 2017.

News Corp Australia

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