Tallis: 'He could blow Origin apart'
TEST legend Gorden Tallis says reformed big man Dave Taylor has the potential to return to State of Origin and win Queensland the series if he is genuinely willing to put in the work asked of him.
But Tallis knows it will take a complete turnaround in attitude.
Taylor is yet to earn an NRL contract but has spent the pre-season with Canberra Raiders on a train-and-trial deal.
The word out of the nation's capital is he's shed 9kg off his hulking frame and has immersed himself in charity work around the city.
Taylor is chasing NRL redemption. He left the Gold Coast in 2015 amid a storm of drugs charges - he later pleaded guilty to a cocaine possession charge in court - and spent last season with Catalans in the Super League.
During his 170-game, 10-year stint in the NRL he has often been accused of being lazy.
Frustrated by the wasted talent, Tallis has been Taylor's harshest critic in the past but can see the potential waiting to be unleashed.
In fact he says Taylor could lead the Maroons to Origin glory.
"This guy, on potential, he could blow Origin apart. Or he could go there and drop three balls and lose you a game," Tallis said.
"He's a guy with so much potential, and the game came so easy to him but he didn't want to work hard for it.
"Some people have it at such a young age that they drive themselves, they want to be the best and they want to succeed. Not the best player, they want to be the best that they can possibly be.
"There's some players with all this potential that never become what they should be.
"On potential Dave Taylor should be nearly the best player on the field every week. He can have a massive impact."
Taylor was still a teenager when he debuted for the Broncos in 2006. He left there in 2009 and spent three seasons with South Sydney, then three with the Gold Coast before packing his bags and heading overseas.
He also made one appearance for Australia and eight for Queensland but the general consensus was he never capitalised fully on that natural ability.
But if there's one man who can unlock it, it's the Raiders coach.
"The good thing is Ricky Stuart takes no prisoners, we know that. History shows that with Ricky Stuart, there's no nonsense with him," Tallis said.
"He's a real players' coach, the players love him. Dave comes with all the history, and it's his last chance in the NRL.
"It's either this or nothing. The good thing is he's out of a big city, all the distractions are away from him."
One of Tallis's favourite teammates at Brisbane in the late 1990s and early 2000s was outside back Michael de Vere, who he won the 1997, 1998, and 2000 premierships alongside.
He says Taylor could be one of the game's best players if he had the work ethic and attitude of de Vere.
"One of my favourite players ever to play with was Michael de Vere the centre, because he wrote a letter to Wayne Bennett for an opportunity and he played for Australia, played in all the grand finals for us (at Brisbane)," Tallis said.
"When you looked over and saw him in my team you knew he was never going to let you down.
"They're the type of players you want to play with, they're the type of players that win grand finals, they're the type of players that add to the culture of a club."