Posted: 14 November, 2016
This Is Taylor's Last Crack In NRL: Stuart
Image: Getty Images
Ricky Stuart is adamant he has no expectations of David Taylor despite the Canberra coach conceding it's likely the erratic footballer's last shot at the NRL.
Taylor begins another road to redemption when he turns up for day one of the Raiders' pre-season next Monday and attempts to earn a new playing contract.
Stuart played down the significance of Taylor's pre-season deal with the club, putting the onus on the former State of Origin star to prove his worth over the summer before he is considered for a playing contract.
"I haven't thrown any expectation out there with David. I don't know where that's going to end up. That'll all come down to David," Stuart told reporters on Monday.
"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.
"It's neither here nor there for me. 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."
Regarded as one of the most feared forwards in the game when on-song, Taylor has struggled to string consistent football and fitness in stints at Brisbane, South Sydney and Gold Coast.
His NRL career seemed over when he moved to Catalans in the Super League for the 2016 season - but he was subsequently released and will have a likely final shot against the elite in Australia.
Meanwhile former St Helens utility Jordan Turner is also expected to meet his new teammates next Monday.
With the first two days of the Raiders' pre-season set aside for body testing, Stuart has offered players another two weeks off as a carrot if they can pass fitness tests.
Not that he expects them to all take it.
"Personally I feel as though some players will come back and stay," Stuart said.
"I've spoken to a few of the boys and they're all interested in getting going again."
The Raiders confirmed that their only trial of the pre-season will be against Newcastle at Seiffert Oval in Queanbeyan on February 18.