Dave Taylor: Why I've walked from NRL clubs for the Capras
DAVE Taylor has revealed why he chose to walk away from a superstar NRL career and settle down in Central Queensland as the Capras' latest star.
Taylor had headed overseas for a lucrative $1 million contract with Canadian outfit, Toronto Wolfpack.
However, on January 18, he was released from his contract for the team's 2018 season.
Taylor said the "pressure” at the game's elite level had led to him to walking away from a number of keen NRL clubs interested in his signature for the coming season.
"A couple of NRL sides were interested but I was pretty happy to just come home... I never listened to them,” the 29 year old said today as he fronted a media conference at Browne Park.
"I've had a pretty full on career over the last 12 years and I'm looking to settle down.
"There's so much pressure on players and because of the experience I'd had in NRL, when I went back to NRL there was a lot of pressure on me to perform at the highest level.
"I'm coming back here and enjoying my football and will just let the football do the talking and not force the good football out which will be the best thing for me this year.”
After playing for the Capras 10 years ago and taking the team to the semi finals, Taylor was named as "one of the biggest signings” for the club and a "major draw card” come season kick-off.
"It'll be huge for the whole region to have Dave back in town representing the region he grew up in,” coach Kim Williams said of the player affectionately dubbed the Coal Train.
"He'd be training with us just before Christmas in preparation for the season ahead and as things have turned out he ended up here and we welcome him with open arms.
"It's a massive coup for our club to have a player of his quality on board and with our squad in particular we see huge benefits there.
"Confidence in our players will grow exponentially and seeing him tonight at training will be a massive boost.”
Williams said Taylor's addition to the first trial match at Browne Park on February 24 against the Cutters is expected to bring in "the biggest crowd number in years”.
When he last played for the club thousands would attend Capras games.
"He's always been an entertaining player to watch at the highest level and in the Intrust Super Cup hopefully he's going to be something special,” Williams said.
"We expect that and I'm sure he expects to produce that sort of form as well and I'm sure the crowds will come to watch that.
"The other players have only just found out and they'll be excited to see him back at training again tonight.
"I expect to see lift amongst the players and as a coach it's given me the same motivation.”
After proving himself a influential role model for the younger players, Williams expects Taylor, who grew up in Blackwater and attended St Brendan's College in Yeppoon, to positively amp up his fellow players.
"We need to make sure the whole team now lifts and continues to concentrate on their own role first,” he said.
"Certainly on the field, if you look next to you and see Dave next to you that will gives you a shot of confidence.”
After such a stellar career in some of the nation's top teams, Taylor said he hoped to inspire others just as he was by players like Petero Civoniceva and Shane Webke.
"With the experience that I've got, I could probably rub off on the younger fellas and show them what to do around the training park,” Taylor said.
"In NRL, you're around each other a lot more so you become sort of colleagues, whereas here, you're more sort of mates.”
Despite Taylor's choice to step away from the NRL scene, the possibility is still there for a potential return to the elite level of football.
"We spoke and in six months time if I'm playing good footy and enjoying myself, they've given me opportunity that if an NRL club comes along, these guys are happy to release me to an NRL club,” Taylor said.
"At the moment, I'm not really that keen to go back into it but in six months down the track I might be fighting for an opportunity to play for the NRL again.”
As part of his two-year deal with the Capras, Taylor has been in negotiations with the CQ club to travel to Brisbane regularly and see his children.
"A big thanks to Karla McPhail from Coal Train and Jack Trenaman from SMW and also to the Leagues Club and the Capras for making this transition very easy,” he said.
"They've gone above and beyond to make this deal happen and I'm very thankful for the opportunity to be here in my home town.
"I'd like to finish my days out here and then move on to the next chapter of my life.”
Taylor had already made plans to give back to the community and "do a fair bit of community work”, and hopes to become involved with supporting young aspiring football stars.
"It's extremely important to give back because if you give to the community you find the community gives back to you.”