Dave Taylor has signed with Intrust Super Cup team CQ Capras and his schoolboy mentor Terry Hansen has urged him to make the most of what may be his last chance to get his life and career on track.
The 29-year-old flew to his home town of Rockhampton to be with his parents last week after parting ways with the Toronto Wolfpack having broken curfew twice while in camp in Portugal, just a fortnight into a $1 million-plus contract.
The Capras deal is understood to be a two-year contract with the second season an option in the club's favour, while Taylor is free to take up any opportunities in the NRL or Super League should they arise.
His manager Col Davis had fielded interest from other Intrust Super Cup clubs while there were also preliminary enquiries from one NRL club, but the best thing for Taylor was always going to be living close to his parents in an environment where he has people he can trust and with his best interests at heart to guide him.
As reported earlier by NRL.com, the Ipswich Jets had offered Taylor a lifeline but talks with the Rockhampton-based Capras, where he trained for six weeks prior to Christmas, ramped up in the past week.
Taylor is one of many NRL players to come through St Brendan’s College in Yeppoon under head coach Terry Hansen, who urged his former pupil to make this last chance in the last chance saloon count.
“Dave deserves another chance, but this time he has to give himself a chance,” Hansen told NRL.com.
“It all depends what he does with this opportunity. He is only 29 and has another four or five years left in him, if he gets fit and gets fair dinkum.
“I just want to see him do his very best and get himself another crack at an NRL contract and finish his career on the right note.
“Dave has been easily led in the past and now he needs to stay out of trouble, but [living back at home] could be his way back because the one person who can have a big influence on his life is his mother.
“There are plenty of players in the past who have been in strife and turned it all around and I hope Dave can be one of them."
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.
He is also in the process of sourcing full-time employment with an eye to his post-playing future.
"Obviously it's huge for the whole region to have Dave back in town and representing the region he grew up in and the area he went to school in as well," CQ Capras coach Kim Williams said.
"He trained with us just before Christmas in preparation for the season ahead and as things have turned out he's ended up back here and obviously we're welcoming him with open arms.
"It's a massive coup for our club to have a player of his quality on board and I think with our squad we'll see some huge benefits."
Taylor spoke to local media at a press conference in Rockhampton on Thursday morning where he outlined the pressure he felt in the NRL at Canberra after a Super League stint and his desire to get back to enjoying his football.
"I've had a pretty full on career over the last 12 years and I'm looking to settle down,” Taylor said.
"There's so much pressure on players and because of the experience I'd had in NRL, when I went back to NRL [with Canberra] there was a lot of pressure on me to perform at the highest level.
"I'm coming back here and will just let the football do the talking.”
The man known as the ‘Coal Train’ has not given up hope of playing in the NRL if he can find his feet and his form in the Intrust Super Cup.
"In six months if I'm playing good footy and enjoying myself [the Capras have] given me the opportunity that if an NRL club comes along, these guys are happy to release me,” Taylor said.
"At the moment I'm not really that keen but six months down the track I might be fighting for an opportunity to play NRL again.”
Capras CEO Peter White told NRL.com that Taylor would put bums on seats and be embraced by the community.
“Dave said to me the other day ‘it is so good to be home’. It is just going to be good for him to chill out for a while,” he said.
“Having someone of Dave’s calibre, being a local boy from Blackwater who grew up playing at St Brendan’s and playing for the Capras previously, he is going to be a huge hit. Kids and all the people are going to come out in droves to see him.
“I said to Col Davis that hopefully in six or eight months’ time he is going that good that he has two or three NRL offers on the table, but he may not decide to go that way again.”