Ipswich may offer one-time Test player Dave Taylor a lifeline
The Ipswich Jets are prepared to offer former NRL player Dave Taylor a lifeline to get his career and life back on track in the Intrust Super Cup.
Taylor has arrived back in Australia and is staying with his parents near Rockhampton after parting ways with the Toronto Wolfpack a fortnight into a $1 million plus three-year contract.
Toronto cut ties with Taylor, who broke curfew twice on a training camp in Portugal, along with Fuifui Moimoi and Ryan Bailey.
Taylor trained for six weeks with the CQ Capras in Rockhampton before linking with the Wolfpack.
The 29-year-old’s manager Col Davis and the Capras are yet to hold talks about a possible gig since his arrival home, although that may well take place in the near future.
Taylor is at a crossroads in his life after 181 games with the Brisbane Broncos, South Sydney Rabbitohs, Gold Coast Titans and Canberra Raiders in the NRL, and a stint with Catalans in the Super League.
Playing in the Telstra Premiership may not be an option in the short term for the former Maroons and Test forward, but Ipswich co-coach Shane Walker said the club could offer Taylor something that in the long run would be more worthwhile.
Taylor would need employment to go with any playing deal to meet his financial commitments, and Walker runs a recruitment company which helps find players work.
"I think Dave probably needs to start thinking about the next 50-odd years of his life and rugby league can help him do that, although it may not be at his desired level," Walker told NRL.com.
"We are proud of the fact that we do a great job for our young fellas off the field. I’ve got First Grade Recruitment and Ben [Walker] has got a real estate business and we do projects that help players get work and affordable housing.
"We have had nearly 20 guys at our club buy their first homes and every single one has a job, and if they don’t they can’t play.
"You can be at an NRL club on a minimum wage, or play at the Jets and have a job and earn equally as much without the demands
"Some of those sort of things we could help provide for Dave if that’s what he wants. We’d certainly be prepared to have a yarn to him."
Walker has spoken previously of his desire to coach Taylor and play him as a five-eighth where he said he would be "a star".
That would no doubt be music to Taylor’s ears, who grew up wanting to be the next Darren Lockyer.
"Given that he is a free-spirited footballer in a huge body, he has probably been typecast as something he’s not," Walker said
"For a guy with as much ball-playing ability and an offload, there is no need to pigeonhole him as a hit-up forward.
"We would also afford him an environment where he would enjoy playing. There would be some familiar faces too because he grew up playing footy with [Jets trainer] Keiron Lander."
Taylor played 11 games for the Raiders last year, trained hard and worked three shifts a week in a local hotel.
Canberra coach Ricky Stuart was able to get Taylor to knuckle down.
NRL.com understands the last thing Stuart said to Taylor before he left Canberra was to wish him well and advise him to choose his associates wisely in the next chapter of his life.
That has been an issue for Taylor in the past and one reason, although not the only one, why he wound up with a $1000 fine for cocaine possession while at the Titans.
The past cannot be replayed for Taylor, but the future is before him.
Walker advised him not to be taken in by the “mirage in the distance that is the NRL” as he treads that path.
“The sooner some young blokes realise that it is not everything they hope it to be or the only thing that can provide for them, the better,” Walker said.
“There are plenty of blokes who have got on with their life in their communities playing [Intrust Super Cup] or in the bush, where they can start being a responsible adult more than anything.
“It is not the fault of professionalism, but being a professional doesn’t always help you greatly outside the bubble you are in when you are playing NRL.
“While the financial benefit is not there at Ipswich in terms of what other clubs may offer, if Dave is looking for life sustainability then that is what we can offer him. Ultimately, that is more important than playing NRL."