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Taylor reaches peak fitness at NRL Raiders

NZN 22/02/2017 Matt Coughlan

Former State of Origin star Dave Taylor has never looked fitter as he prepares to resurrect his NRL career with Canberra, according to fellow NRL forward Junior Paulo.

The Raiders have offered Taylor a one-year deal after impressing coach Ricky Stuart during the pre-season while he was with the club on a train-and-trial basis.

"The way he kicked off his pre-season start here at the Raiders it's the fittest he's ever looked," Paulo said.

"He's back to his prime weight again.

"He came about 136 kgs and now he's down to 124, 123 kgs. He's definitely looking like he's raring to go."

Taylor now has to accept conditions put to him in the Raiders' offer before the contract is lodged with the NRL who are reportedly impressed with Taylor's progress since linking with Canberra.

The 28-year-old pleaded guilty to cocaine charges last year but avoided a conviction.

If he decides to sign with the Raiders full-time, Taylor will join the likes of Paulo and Shannon Boyd to increase the size of an imposing forward pack.

"Everyone knows what he can bring to the table," Paulo said.

"Hopefully he does put pen to paper. It's something special for the team."

Paulo has also shed weight during the off-season but will miss the club's round one clash with North Queensland after being suspended by the club over assault and driving charges which he pleaded guilty to.

"We definitely have a big pack at the Raiders and everyone's got to hold each other accountable off the field too," Paulo said.

"It's definitely frustrating knowing that you've just completed pre-season and you can't be a part of that round one squad," Paulo said.

"It means another week of flogging for me and hopefully I can give back to the boys for missing out of round one come round two."

Paulo said his bout with Cronulla skipper Paul Gallen in December had helped him return to the Raiders primed for the pre-season.

"Last year, I played the whole year sitting at 128, 129 kgs, now I'm sitting at between 122 and 124," Paulo said.

"Everyone knows that the big boys love to damage in the kitchen but we also love to do damage on the field."

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