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Jaxson Taylor turns to West Belconnen 'family' after inferno

West Belconnen player Jaxson Taylor was left with a sole pair of football boots when his house burnt down, but had his room mate not woken him, he may not have been here to tell the story. 

It's the ''family environment'' the Warriors have rebuilt which helped put the pieces of his life back together. 

After the late night inferno, Taylor felt he had nowhere to turn but the football club he joined this year from rugby union. 

He turned up to play reserve grade the next day, after which the Warriors and opponent Goulburn raised nearly $1000 after the match to get him back on his feet. 

Warriors players have donated match payments, held fund-raisers and one of his friends held a BBQ in Dickson on Friday. 

"I had nowhere else to go but the hospital, so I just went to play footy,'' Taylor said. 


"When they gave me that money, I couldn't speak. I'm not the type to receive that sort of stuff.

By all accounts, Taylor is the type of guy willing to give someone the shirt off his own back when they're down. 

This Sunday, West Belconnen will play at Goulburn in the Canberra Raiders Cup elimination final, and both teams' seasons are on the line. 

Taylor won't play, but will be on hand to thank Bulldogs players and staff for their generosity.

His boots, which he left to air outside, were his only possession to escape the blaze. 

"If it wasn't for him [room mate] I would have still been asleep. By the time I got out, it took no longer than two minutes before the whole house was on fire,'' Taylor said. 

"My other flatmate's room door was locked. Once I booted the door open, a big gush of smoke came through which we inhaled, and collapsed to the floor. 

"The only way out was a glass window, I've got cuts on the side of my head but they're slowly coming together.''

First-year West Belconnen coach Justin Giteau said he had paused to reflect on the club's rise after losing every game by an average of over 40 points last year. 

The side lost its past four games before the finals, but it has regained the respect of the competition. 

It's the unity evident in the Taylor drama which has been the foundation. 

"Everyone chipped in for him because he'd do exactly the same thing for one of the other boys,'' Giteau said. 

"A few of the boys went and got him some clothes, organised fund-raisers and blokes donated match payments. 

"There's new blokes at the club and good camaraderie amongst all the players. 

"That shines through when things like this happen, everyone gets together and is willing to help out.''

A subcommittee of former West Belconnen players was formed to help revive the club after their horror season last year. 

"They didn't want to have another season where they were getting touched up, otherwise the juniors would go elsewhere,'' Giteau said. 

"It was do or die, they were willing to do whatever it took to turn the club around. 

"Those guys were here when the club was strong, they knew what it took to be successful.''


Canberra Raiders Cup elimination final: Goulburn Bulldogs v West Belconnen Warriors at Goulburn Workers Arena, 3pm