'Coal Train' gathering steam at Raiders
Thrown a rugby league lifeline by the Raiders in October last year, Dave "Coal Train" Taylor has grasped the opportunity and will make his club debut in Sunday's clash against Wests Tigers.
Taylor spent last year with Catalans Dragons in Europe's Super League after losing his way at the Gold Coast Titans.
One of eight Titans charged with supplying cocaine two years ago, he pleaded guilty but escaped with a $1000 fine and no conviction when the case went to court in November.
Having offered Taylor a train-and-trial lifeline last year, Raiders coach Rickey Stuart has only praise for the way the big man has gone about the task of resuming his career at the top level.
"I've seen a huge change - the importance he has put on his football has been amazing in regards to his commitment and sacrifice," Stuart said.
"In all my years of coaching I haven't seen too many players train as hard as David has over the last three or four months.
"He's worked very, very hard physically.
"He deserves his contract here at the club and the way he's handled himself off the field (and) at training has warranted his spot now."
As part of the NRL registration process, Taylor had to serve a two-match suspension at the start of this season.
The 28-year-old prop has played a total of 170 NRL games with Brisbane, South Sydney and Gold Coast, as well as eight Origins and a Test.
Picked on the bench, Taylor would get limited game time in his return, Stuart said.