Petero Civoniceva says Dave Taylor's rugby league legacy is at stake. Credit: NRL Photos Copyright: NRL Photos
I hate to say it but Dave Taylor finds himself at a career crossroads at the moment. For the record, I’ve always been a big Dave Taylor fan. I was at the Broncos when he started catching the eye very early on. Everyone knew the first time they saw him that he was something special. We were all in awe that someone of his size was able to possess the ability and skill that he does. He was something to behold.
But as he makes his return this week after being dropped from the Gold Coast’s NRL squad for disciplinary reasons, Dave is at a point where he has to make a decision about which way he wants his career to go – whether he has the desire to be all that he can be.
Everyone wants to see him reach his full potential but will there be a time when people are saying “gee, Dave Taylor could have been one of the game’s greats if only he had applied himself better”?
To succeed in the NRL you’ve got to want it bad enough, and Dave is at a point where it is his decision now. Everyone else has done everything possible. He had an opportunity at the Broncos; he had an opportunity at Souths; and now he has a golden opportunity at the Titans. Unfortunately at all three of those clubs he has slipped up and there has to be a point where he has to acknowledge the fact that he has a choice to make.
I can’t tell you the number of players I have seen over the years that wasted their talent. I could easily name 20 or 30 guys throughout my 15 years of playing NRL that could have been great talents in our game but because of poor personal decisions never reached that potential. It comes down to personal desire and a willingness not to be selfish. You’ve got to think about your teammates and how it impacts on them when you don’t aim up and don’t pull your weight around the club.
This time last year Dave Taylor was playing for Australia but he has spent the past few weeks playing Queensland Cup instead because of poor personal application and taking things for granted. I’m sure that has been a big part of it – Dave has been the best player in all age groups coming through the grades and has always stood out, so perhaps there hasn’t been the desire to work as hard as the young bloke who doesn’t have the traits that he possesses.
Dave’s personality has always been that of a fun-loving bloke who likes to enjoy himself and he is someone who likes to take the focus away from football when he can. But it’s so important to get that balance right. If you don’t, you run the risk of missing out on team selections and also dropping out of form. It’s about that attention to detail that you have to have at NRL level week in, week out. It doesn’t happen by itself every week. If you don’t put the work in, you’re going to fall short at game time and unfortunately that has been Dave’s situation for quite a few years.
These are all things that he can fix but it comes down to him making some choices in his life to get it done. We’ve seen plenty of examples of guys changing their ways to reach their potential. Let’s just hope that Dave can do the same.
I know what he is capable of and as both a Queenslander and an Australian I desperately want to see him be the best that he can be… but from here it is all up to him.