You are using an older browser version. Please use a supported version for the best MSN experience.

Coal Train tip-top for NRL return: Ricky

NZN 16/03/2017

Dave Taylor's redemption from fallen NRL star to an important member of the Raiders pack has amazed Canberra coach Ricky Stuart.

Taylor is set to restart his career at the top level on Sunday afternoon in the Raiders' match against Wests Tigers with Stuart measured in his expectations of the former Origin star.

"I've seen a huge change," Stuart said.

"The importance he has put on his football has been amazing in regards to his commitment and sacrifice."

Taylor has shed weight since joining the Raiders on a train-and-trial basis last year.

While he escaped conviction after pleading guilty to cocaine charges he was hit with while playing with the Titans, he was suspended for the opening two rounds of the season for his part in the Gold Coast scandal as a condition of signing a one-year contract with Canberra.

"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," Stuart said.

"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."

The 28-year-old brings 170 games of experience in the NRL with Brisbane, South Sydney and Gold Coast as well as eight Origins and a Test cap.

Taylor's inclusion is part of a forwards reshuffle for Canberra with Elliot Whitehead back to second row after playing in the centres while captain Jarrod Croker was sidelined with injury.

Clay Priest has been named on the bench after a one-match suspension and Sia Soliola will come off the bench after starting in the Raiders' first two games.

While Stuart plans to give Taylor limited game time, he will have the option to inject another big body when interchanged with giant props Junior Paulo and Shannon Boyd as the Raiders look to bounce back from a heavy loss to Cronulla last week.

"It was probably a part of the game we got beaten in last week," Stuart said.

"We took two big bodies off and we didn't have anyone to replace them with.

"It was unfortunate from the bench what we had were all a similar shape and size."

image beaconimage beaconimage beacon