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New Zealand players aren't as smart as their Australian rivals - Taylor

Sporting News logo Sporting News 11/09/2017

© Provided by Sportal com au Being brought up through the New Zealand junior system and then experiencing how things are done differently overseas, Wests Tigers lock Elijah Taylor believes the Australian development system creates a better production line of footballers that are ''smarter'' than their Kiwi rivals.

Taylor played rugby union as a youngster before taking up rugby league 11 years ago, playing for the Warriors in the under 20's and then progressing to first grade.

The 27-year-old then followed coach Ivan Cleary to the Panthers and Tigers, two clubs where he saw more advanced development systems that put a stronger focus on skill rather than physicality.

"Back in New Zealand the game is about power and running over someone - instead of skill, tactics and kicking game," Taylor said at the Tigers' presentation night last week.

"Kicking games are non-existent until you come to the under-20s. It's all about physical football – not completions or wrestle.

"Australia have a lot of halves and people that are smart footballers. The pathways [in New Zealand] aren't as good and the quality of play."

Taylor added that players like Roger Tuivasa-Sheck benefited from their time across the ditch as they transfer their skills in a highly beneficial pickup for the Warriors.

"The Warriors wanted to sign Roger Tuivasa-Sheck before he signed with the Roosters,'' he said.

"He would've been behind Vatuvei and might not have got the opportunity. For him to go to the Roosters and win a premiership, then go back as a Warriors captain – it's a win-win for New Zealand rugby league.

"There are 16 NRL clubs and a lot of talent in New Zealand. They get an opportunity elsewhere and it's good for rugby league."

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