It's up to Taylor to deliver: Stuart
Work hard, make the right choices, and you're in.
That was the message Canberra coach Ricky Stuart had for former Broncos, Rabbitohs and Titans forward Dave Taylor, who will begin training with the 2016 preliminary finalists when pre-season commences on Monday.
Taylor, 28, last featured in the NRL in 2015 with Gold Coast before moving to France to link up with Catalans Dragons in the Super League.
But the former Maroons and Kangaroos representative is back on Australian shores and will take one last roll of the dice in the NRL after signing a "train-and-trial" deal, with Stuart placing the onus on Taylor to deliver in pre-season training if he is to earn a contract in the nation's capital.
With Canberra already boasting a pack that went within moments of taking them into the 2016 grand final, the task is far from easy for the blockbusting forward despite his incredible ability.
"I haven't thrown any expectation out there with David, I don't know where that's going to end up, that'll come down to David," Stuart said at the announcement of the club's 2017 trial match against the Knights at Seiffert Oval.
"It's neither here nor there for me, it's a matter of how David wants to respond and how he handles the going when he gets here.
"I'm sure he'll be hungry and healthy to want to succeed because it's probably his last crack but… I've got a number of other players I've got to worry about. We can hand the opportunity to players, it's then a matter of what they want to do with it."
Taylor won't be the only new face around Raiders HQ come day one of pre-season training, with former St Helens outside back Jordan Turner making the move to the NRL on a two-year deal.
Sam Williams departed the club at the end of the 2016 season, and Turner was seen by many as cover for halves Blake Austin and Aidan Sezer. Stuart however expects the versatile Englishman to play a much different role in the squad.
"With Jordan it's more… he has a great capacity to play a utility role. He's played back-row, he's played in the halves, he's played centre," Stuart said.
"In today's game when you've got a limited interchange I think that's a really classic position to be able to fill. I'm looking forward to working with him, and just having some brief text messages and communication with him over the last couple of months I know he's eager to get started and get into Canberra.
"It's an exciting period because we've got a few guys there that are coming down for an opportunity. Last year we saw a number of guys break into first grade and were very successful. They take the opportunity with both hands, that's totally up to the individual, how they prepare and sacrifice and commit to their off-season work."
The Raiders will return to their traditional home in Queanbeyan for the second time in three pre-seasons, having last played at Seiffert Oval prior to the 2015 campaign. Newcastle will again be their opponents as they were two years prior in what will be Canberra's one and only trial game ahead of the 2017 NRL season.
In a pre-season that will also feature a trip across the Tasman for the annual Auckland Nines competition, Stuart has opted to streamline his side's schedule to ensure his charges are fresh for another premiership tilt.
"Generally over the years I've coached I haven't played much trial footy," Stuart explained.
"As I've progressed through my career as a coach I've played less and less trial matches because the competition is becoming so much tougher, the competition is so long, and it's quite a brutal off-season too.
"We get a lot out of our sessions, they're very similar to gameday and I don't need to put extra stress or burden on the players in playing trials unless they need it physically, unless they've come back from injury.
"We tend to get to the start of the season in good healthy condition and we've had good success in doing it that way."
With the exception of Shannon Boyd, Jordan Rapana, Joseph Tapine, Josh Hodgson and Elliott Whitehead who are yet to return from the Four Nations tournament in the UK, the Canberra NRL squad will assemble for the start of pre-season training on Monday, with the incentive of a further two weeks off if targets are met during two days of testing.