Wests Tigers are confident new coach Jason Taylor will be able to master the player power at the NRL club and get the best out of their young halves.
Jason Taylor’s ability to involve the powerful Wests Tigers playing group in his plans is a major reason behind his long-awaited return to the NRL coaching ranks.
A Western Suburbs junior, Taylor has been waiting desperately for another first-grade appointment since he was sacked as South Sydney coach at the end of 2009 following an incident during the team’s Mad Monday celebrations.
Taylor has served as Trent Robinson’s assistant at the Sydney Roosters for the past two seasons and beat a number of candidates to the Tigers job including Anthony Griffin, Nathan Brown and existing coaching staff members David Kidwell and Todd Payten.
The Tigers boast some of the most exciting talent in the competition, and Taylor’s proven ability to get the best out of young halves helped convince the newly appointed Tigers’ board that he was the man to nurture Luke Brooks and Mitchell Moses.
Under Taylor’s tutorship at the Roosters, Mitchell Pearce and James Maloney won a premiership and played State of Origin, and the Tigers are hoping for more of the same.
But above all, the Tigers are confident Taylor has the ability to empower his squad and give players a significant say in the style of play that can return the joint-venture to the finals after several years in the doldrums.
This is an important factor at a club where the opinions of Tigers stars has played some part in unseating the past two first-grade coaches – Tim Sheens and earlier this month Mick Potter.
Taylor’s appointment was made in conjunction with Phil Moss’s unveiling as the club’s first ever general manager of football operations.
“Jason has had success at a lot of clubs and he knows exactly what’s needed to succeed,” Tigers chief executive Grant Mayer told AAP.
“His knowledge of working with halves played a part in it. He’s done wonders with Maloney and Pearce.
“But it’s not just about that, it’s his overall coaching philosophy.
“He involves his players in his game plans and they buy into it.
“There’s such exciting talent coming through at Wests Tigers … and Jason has been given the keys to the car so to speak.”
Taylor has had to work hard to restore his reputation after he was unceremoniously sacked by the Rabbitohs over a night out gone wrong, where Taylor was punched down a set of stairs by Souths’ player David Fa’alogo at a Sydney pub.
Although a shaken Taylor spoke out in defence of his actions on that night, Souths decided their coach had put himself in a poor position and acted swiftly.
However, since that day Taylor has been perhaps the best-qualified coach without a top job in the NRL, given the success he enjoyed during his brief stint at Parramatta and then in rebuilding the Rabbitohs from the ground up.
Taylor will have a say in a new-look coaching staff, with Payten unlikely to stay on board.
Mayer described the appointments of Taylor and Moss as “good, strong decisions” – the pair having worked together previously at Parramatta.
The Tigers’ restructuring of their coaching and administration department after a tumultuous year on and off the field has also served to weaken rivals the Roosters and Penrith – where Moss was employed as football manager.
Mayer said Moss’s role overseeing the workings of the football department was inspired more by AFL clubs than Phil Gould’s job as the head honcho at the Panthers.
But he praised Moss for his impact at Penrith in rebuilding their roster to become a finals force.