Taylor: Premiership-winning coach makes a difference

Wests Tigers leader Elijah Taylor reckons there’s a distinct difference with coaches who have won a Telstra Premiership and those that haven’t after his first three months with Michael Maguire.

For the first time in the 28-year-old’s career, Taylor is being coached by a premiership-winner and has noticed a new level of class Maguire has brought to the club following the departure of Ivan Cleary to the Panthers.

Despite admitting the training “quantity” had risen, Maguire’s methods had rejuvenated Taylor’s game after a 2018 season of being used in the back row, lock and hooker.

“My whole outlook on footy is different,” Taylor told NRL.com.

"When you stop learning is when you get into trouble. You get a bit stale. Madge has brought in fresh ideas you know are successful because he’s used them at Souths and Wigan.

"That’s all his encouraging and I can tell the difference between coaches who have won a competition and those that haven’t.

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“The training quantity is a lot more with Madge but he’s both firm and fair. If you muck up you get a spray, if you don’t it’s all good.”

It’s a similar mindset from teammate Ben Matulino, who said Maguire was determined to get the former Warriors prop back to playing career-best football.

When you stop learning is when you get into trouble … Madge has brought in fresh ideas

Elijah Taylor on the arrival of Michael Maguire

Matulino managed 23 games for the Wests Tigers in his first season at the club but was down on his usual career totals for carries and average running metres (91.5m per game).

“He does a lot of one-on-one stuff with the players,” Matulino said. "The first time I spoke to him face-to-face he wanted to get me back to where he thought I should be.

“He challenges you along the way and it’s up to me whether I can knock those down. I’ve taken on board what he’s said to me.”

Matulino revealed Maguire even tried to pull the former Kiwi international out of representative retirement last season.

“We spoke ahead of the Denver Test but I’d retired a couple of years ago,” Matulino said.

Wests Tigers forward Elijah Taylor.

Wests Tigers forward Elijah Taylor.©weststigers.com.au

"He asked if I was interested and I said I couldn’t. The main reason was my kids. I did a tour away from them once and didn’t enjoy being away that long.

"I missed some of their child development and coming back in January you miss a chunk of the pre-season.

“I’d rather come back when everyone else does in November and not fall behind the eight-ball because it’s hard to play catch up later in the year.”

Elijah doesn’t sound too concerned about his position in the team.

ET was Ivan’s gap filler, will be interesting to see how Madge puts him to use during the season.

I had no idea Taylor was only 28, he has plenty of football left in him. Sounds pretty bitter towards Cleary and the we he left the club as well. I’m interested to see where Taylor fits in this year, as many have left him out completely when it comes to their top 17.

Taylor is the dark horse of the group … last season he looked spent, hence why most of us have left him out of our 17’s. But if he has a rejuventated approach this season, he could be a very handy pick for our side. He is a work horse, tackles anything that moves, and 2017 i thought he has playing with a lot of confidence and was actually going to the line then offloading, causing many problem for the defence.

If he is back with that confidence for 2019, he’ll be in my starting 13.

Glad to see Maguire has had the chat to Matulino “to get him back to where he thinks he should be” - a chat that was well and truly needed for both last years front row if we have got any hope of making a dent this year.

Matulino and Packer have a lot more than was shown last year, a more traditional coach will get more from them

The whole forward pack should improve with a physical uncompromising style. Look for big years from the forwards. I suspect players like Eiso, Garner, Rochow will struggle as they lack the Mongrel required. ET is a wildcard he has bulked up impressively. He doesn’t shirk work but would love to see him get stuck in with power running and hitting.

We need a player like Taylor who gets through an enormous amount defensive work, he is one player that we have who can continually pin an opponent on the ground tackle after tackle.
I think that he must start at lock, even if the trend in the NRL is to have a third prop playing there.


I think that he must start at lock, even if the trend in the NRL is to have a third prop playing there.

There are players like Radley and Cameron Murray who buck that trend. Small explosive locks. I like Taylor a lot but I can see the benefit of starting Eisenhuth or Twal at lock and replacing them with someone explosive like Chee-Kam, Aloiai or Mikaele.

A none too subtle swipe at the difference between Ivan the Traitor and Madge the Saviour.

Can’t wait till round 4. This jibe plus the leaked farewell text points towards player anger. They will be up for the Panthers game

Good to see Taylor looking bigger. It will be interesting to see how/where Madge plays him.
He’d be handy as a utility along with three other big guys on the beach.

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