Dave Taylor could become the best player in the game, according to Titans teammate Aidan Sezer. Credit: NRL Photos Copyright: NRL Photos
He may have fallen out of favour with representative selectors but enigmatic second-rower Dave Taylor is capable of becoming the dominant player in the game according to Titans team-mate Aidan Sezer.
With a burning desire to return to the Origin arena in 2014 and a growing passion for surfing helping to keep his hulking frame in check, Taylor is building a fitness base to match his considerable skill and Sezer believes it has the capabilities of transforming the Titans into genuine premiership contenders.
"Dave's looking in fine nick. He's probably the best athlete I've seen physically and speed-wise," Sezer said following a gruelling fitness session. "He plays it up a bit but he's definitely in good nick and I'm happy for the big fella. He's running around the track pretty good now and hopefully he can stay injury free and we can get him on the park and he can just dominate sides like he does.
"From a personal opinion I reckon he'd be the best player in the game at his best. If he does that week in and week out… that's probably what Dave knows he has to work on and that's what we've all got to work on as a team.
"He's a freak of an athlete and if we can get the best out of him I'm pretty sure the Titans will be in there throwing some punches at the right time of the season next year."
Since making his debut for the Broncos as a 17-year-old in 2006, much has been expected of a player who spent time in the halves as a junior but possesses the frame of the Incredible Hulk.
But just like the Hulk can transform back into the mild-mannered Bruce Banner, Taylor has been criticised for drifting in and out of games and not being able to deliver on a consistent basis.
He helped to spark the Titans' six-game winning streak at the back end of the season with 176-metres, nine tackle-breaks and three offloads against the Tigers in Round 21 and Sezer said that transferring that late-season form is something the entire squad will be striving to achieve.
"It definitely helps with confidence considering the teams we played," Sezer said of their finals charge that fell just short. "They were quality teams the last six rounds and it definitely did instil a bit of confidence within the squad. Hopefully coming into the pre-season trials in a couple of months' time we can work on that and just go forward.
"Obviously we have got a very talented squad here and we have got high expectations of our group so we'll just see how we go."
Sezer was heading for scans on a minor knee complaint on Monday afternoon but was confident he would be on deck for training with the squad on Wednesday and able to continue to develop his combination with halves partner Albert Kelly.
Kelly was a late addition to the squad ahead of the 2013 season and Sezer is confident that the combination that delivered a combined 25 try assists in 2013 can go to another level again next year.
"Me and 'Alby' are only young fellas still but having a year under our belt playing alongside each other is definitely going to help our game and benefit the team," the 22-year-old said.
"He's looking good in the pre-season and me and him are only going to grow as a partnership and that's going to benefit the club."
Although he has played just two seasons in the top grade, Sezer has felt the extra responsibility of developing his leadership skills due to the absence of World Cup stars Greg Bird, Nate Myles, Luke Douglas, Mark Minichiello and David Mead.
"It puts a bit more pressure on myself to stand up and be counted as a leader," Sezer conceded. "With a few boys off with the rehab squad, the likes of Will Zillman and 'Harro' (Ashley Harrison), as young players we've got to stand up and lead the boys around the park and make sure we're all putting in 100 per cent and improving each day as a squad."
Watch Aidan Sezer address the media on titans.com.au.