Taylor in shape but Origin a weighty issueWayne Heming
Published: November 6 2012 - 3:00AM
Gold Coast recruit Dave Taylor arrived at the club on Monday declaring he wants his Queensland State of Origin jumper back next season.
Tipping the scales at about 125 kilograms, the player known as the ''Coal Train'' is the heaviest signing in the Gold Coast club's short history. Following him is Ryan James at 121 kilograms and centre Jamal Idris at 115 kilograms.
Taylor's weight has been an issue since he was a young player under Wayne Bennett at Brisbane, but he turned up for his first gallop with the Titans in reasonably good shape.
''I finished the year at the same weight I'm at now,'' said Taylor.
''Hopefully I can lose a bit more over the off-season and come back even lighter.''
Asked if he was feeling any early pressure as the club's big-name signing after they failed to qualify for this year's finals series, Taylor said: ''mate … it's day one''.
''All they want me to do now is run.
''I'll answer that question come semi-final time.''
There is no doubt the pain of missing out on last year's third Origin game, which Queensland won, still hurts the 24-year-old giant who has a point to prove to critics next year.
''I want to try and get back in the representative side, that [inability to play in the third game of Origin] was a bit disappointing last year,'' said Taylor.
Titans coach John Cartwright admitted he was impressed with Taylor's condition, as well as the effort of former Cronulla utility back Albert Kelly, who is trialling with the club for an NRL contract.
''Dave's a big guy so it's good to see he hasn't wasted his summer break,'' said Cartwright.
''It's good to see he's done some conditioning and he's turned up today in pretty good shape.''
Taylor's inclusion into a pack that already includes the likes of Luke Bailey, Nate Myles, Ashley Harrison and Greg Bird, gives Cartwright a lot of confidence next season.
Kelly, sacked by the Sharks and Newcastle after disciplinary breaches and personal issues, has been given an opportunity by the Titans to show he has turned things around off the field and to perform well in pre-season trials.
A young talent who hails from Bowraville, the same NSW country town as Greg Inglis, the 21-year-old would be a great addition, especially given veteran halfback Scott Prince's recent move to the Broncos. AAP
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