Odds Shorten Of Taylor Staying At Redfern

By STEVE MASCORD

AUSTRALIA star David Taylor is looking increasingly likely to stay at South Sydney, with the club now interested in retaining him and the future of Gold Coast murkier than ever.

Souths were about to withdraw their contract extension offer for the giant 23-year-old when he announced on March 19 he had signed with the Titans – but much has changed since.

Gold Coast’s future is uncertain with the NRL hinting strongly at regime change. Meanwhile, Taylor was selected in the Australian starting side and has started destroying opposition teams on a weekly basis. He was almost unstoppable in the 20-16 win over North Queensland at ANZ Stadium on Saturday night.

An NRL spokesman has confirmed Souths need only to reach an agreement with Taylor before the end of round 13 for him to stay; the Gold Coast deal will be completely void in the eyes of the governing body as it will not have been registered. Souths had the option of waiving their right to a final offer before the mid-point of the season but have not taken it up.

While coach Michael Maguire is normally reticent to talk about contractual matters, his comment on ABC radio last Sunday clearly indicated he was now keen to retain Taylor.

“I haven’t heard anything from that, from Dave. At the end of the day, Dave and I are continually talking about where he’s at, what he wants to do with his career,” Maguire said. “If that event arises, then we’ll have that conversation.”

There would be nothing to talk to Taylor about if Maguire had not now changed his mind about the Queenslander’s potential value to the club in coming years. Asked to expand on this, the coach told Rugby League Week: “I don’t comment on recruitment”.

On April 18, the Gold Coast Bulletin reported Taylor had not signed anything and had reached only a verbal agreement with the Titans. RLW has learned Taylor’s agent, Col Davis, has decided to do nothing until more is known about the fate of the club, with the NRL suggesting the management may be removed if the troubled franchise receives more hand-outs.

If Taylor was to stay at South Sydney, Gold Coast could opt to take civil action for breach of trust but the general consensus is the club already has enough on its plate.

Where things could get legally messy is if a third club was to get involved.

Maguire admitted  Taylor had grown in confidence since making the Australian starting side for the April 20 Test against New Zealand. “It’s an amazing thing in any player’s career, to start in the Australian team,” the coach said.

“It’s a great honour.

“Dave himself, he worked extremely hard in the pre-season on how he could be a better player and that’s the reason he’s moving forward in his game. It’s a real credit to the things he’s been doing.”

NB: Since this story appeared, Dave Taylor has denied he wants out of his Gold Coast contract. His agent says he won’t sign with Gold Coast until the club’s future is assured.

Filed for: RUGBY LEAGUE WEEK

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