MVPs of 2014: Dave Taylor
As we count down to season 2014, NRL.com identifies 30 players who will be crucial to their team's fortunes this year. From new faces to rising stars to proven performers who will need to lift this season, these are our 'MVPs' for 2014.
It seems almost ludicrous - frivolous, even - that every time Dave Taylor's name comes up, a certain allotment of words come to mind as if we were playing the rugby league version of word association.
Think Dave Taylor, and you think: weight, attitude, potential.
We've all somehow managed to create this figment of Dave Taylor in our minds. We take one look at this man mountain and, ironically, we look down on him. As if he were some lost cause.
He could shed a few. He should shelve that play. He would make a better player if...
And so on and so forth.
But maybe, at 25 years of age, this is just what he advertises himself to be.
At his best, Taylor's a bona fide Queensland representative who can lumber down the tunnel and win you a game with a virtuoso 80-minute performance that leaves you wondering how he managed to kinetically switch skill sets with Johnathan Thurston or Sonny Bill Williams.
At his worst, he's the yellow, white and blue elephant in the room that you simply can't miss. A hulking example of unfulfilled rugby league potential.
To Taylor's credit, he admitted to NRL.com that he "got a little bit excited moving to the Gold Coast with family and friends around," and that he was "drifting off a little bit with the family side of things instead of concentrating 100 per cent on footy".
And we all get that. We've all been to Surfers Paradise and enjoyed ourselves perhaps a little more than we should have.
But at 25 years of age, time is running out for the former Rabbitoh to cash in on some of his God-given talents and become the kind of player we all want him to be.
With that other man mountain - or as Gus Gould prefers it, the "biggest human on the planet" - Jamal Idris escaping out of town on the eve of the season, the onus is, perhaps more than ever, on John Cartwright's other big fella to finally realise that potential.
Teammate Aiden Sezer says Taylor is good enough to make the Titans a genuine premiership contender. "From a personal opinion I reckon he'd be the best player in the game at his best," Sezer said in late 2013. "If he does that week in, 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."