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Raiders back Taylor to railroad Cowboys

NZN 28/06/2017 Matt Coughlan

The NRL career of former Origin star Dave Taylor is again on the line and his Canberra teammates expect him to respond emphatically when he faces North Queensland.

Injuries and illness have derailed the "Coal Train's" first season with the Raiders but Ricky Stuart has called on the giant prop for Saturday night's match at GIO Stadium.

The Raiders coach has piled the pressure on the 28-year-old by stating he is playing for his future with the club.

But veteran forward Sia Soliola believes that will motivate the former Test and Queensland representative.

"You can't perform without a little bit of pressure," Soliola said.

"He's played at the highest level - State of Origin, Australia. I don't expect anything less from Dave.

"I'm pretty sure he puts more pressure on himself than anybody else."

Taylor joined Canberra on a one-year deal after impressing during the pre-season while with the club on a train-and-trial basis.

He made his Raiders debut in round three against Wests Tigers, one of two games he has managed this year as calf problems and a bout of chickenpox kept him out of first-grade action since the round-five clash with Parramatta.

With Canberra's season slipping away after three-straight losses, Taylor's return is set to provide crucial cover for fellow big boppers Junior Paulo and Shannon Boyd, a trio with a combined weight of more than 370kg.

"With Boydy and Junior starting, sometimes when those two come off we lose a bit of size," winger Jordan Rapana said.

"Him coming on there definitely brings that as well as experience.

"Nothing against our smaller forwards but it definitely helps having a big body there."

While Taylor's body has let him down this season, his teammates have backed his attitude as he fights for his career.

After making his debut in 2006 with Brisbane, Taylor played with South Sydney and Gold Coast before an ill-fated stint with Catalans Dragons.

He returned to Australia last year and pleaded guilty to cocaine charges from his time at the Titans, which prompted the NRL to suspend him for the opening two matches of the season.

"It's awesome for someone like Dave to go through what he's been through and come back," Soliola said.

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