Taylor harnesses his super power
By Tony Webeck - this story appeared first on NRL.com
Where Peter Parker (aka Spider-Man) had Uncle Ben to teach him that with great power comes great responsibility, Dave Taylor has turned to Titans teammate Nate Myles to rescue his State of Origin career.
Having missed the entire 2013 series Taylor will represent Queensland for the eighth time on Wednesday night after receiving a recall for Game Two in Sydney where he made 67 metres and 15 tackles in his limited time in the second half.
But perhaps what Taylor was most remembered for in the Blues' 6-4 series-clinching victory was a stray pass over the sideline in the dying stages that gave New South Wales possession in the Maroons' half.
It was a snapshot of Taylor's career; a player blessed with such physical gifts that he can do much good but who too often leaves a trail of destruction when his powers are used for evil.
Now 25 years of age and in his ninth season in the top grade, Taylor told NRL.com that with the supervision of Myles, Gold Coast coach John Cartwright and other senior members at the club, he is beginning to understand his place in rugby league and to block out those who place such great expectations every time he plays.
"I think that's what I found harder the previous years. People were saying, 'he can do this and he can do that' and I started to think that I could when I went out on the field," Taylor said.
"I had coaches telling me just to do this but then I had other people saying, 'you can do this' and it's definitely taken me a long time to realise what my job is. This year I've really focused on what my job is and working hard to do that job.
"Nate and 'Carty' are definitely a couple who have worked hard with me... Ash Harrison is another who has worked hard just picking up little things that I do around training or just focusing on a couple of things. It's definitely helped my game and pushed me down the right track."
Although few have played such an important role in Queensland's dominance over the past eight years, Myles regularly plays down his own physical capabilities but his competitiveness and attention to detail makes him one of the Maroons' unsung heroes.
"Nate notices every little tiny detail that goes on around him. He's very observant and anything that you do he'll pick up on," Taylor revealed.
"It's been good for me, he's definitely pushed me on the right path. I've definitely learned a lot, just from the amount of coffee I was drinking to what I'm eating, as professional athletes you've always got to be on top of it and not let one day go by where you let yourself slip.
"That's one thing that I've definitely noticed in myself as I've matured is that it's definitely easier to control that."
Both at club level and in the Origin arena, Myles has seen the development of Taylor first-hand and the unrealistic expectations placed on a big man with footwork, ball-skills and an almighty right boot.
Fans flock to watch the 'Coal Train' perform feats few humans are capable of and are often disappointed when he doesn't but Myles concedes that no player can deliver the exceptional on a consistent basis.
"I always say that the world's his oyster and as soon as he realises what he can change and gain out of that himself... He's a freak and it's great to see him here [in camp]," Myles said.
"You know what he's capable of and you see it in stages but I think it is too much [to expect it every week]. With the way the competition is in the NRL now, I don't think anyone can perform at their maximum every week and that's what defines the greater players, that they only ever drop a few notches in their performance.
"Sometimes I do think it's unwarranted press for 'Big Sexy' but at the same time he's the type of bloke that will disregard things pretty easily.
"From my point of view, he's just such a physically blessed person and he's capable of so much and people just want to see him do that."
People tend to only remember the sublime or the ridiculous so while one wayward pass may be hanging over his head heading into Game Three, Taylor is thankful to be again wearing Maroon, more conscious of the responsibility that brings.
"I went away and just thought to myself that I was very blessed to get a run last game and wasn't going to beat myself up too much if I didn't get picked in the side [for Game Three]," Taylor said.
"I was just going to go out and do what I could for the Titans. I went away and trained hard for the club and just put all my focus on that and not beating myself up over Origin."