A brief commentary on Taylor and other similarly mercurial players
David Taylor is currently ensconced in the south of France playing for the Catalans Dragons, however, not so long ago he was running around in the NRL (Broncos, Rabbitohs and Titans) to mixed reviews. When he first arrived on the scene, the sky was the limit. He was big. He was skillful. He was an impact player of the highest order. Expectations were high and while he played 8 State of Origins for QLD many felt that he never reached his potential. Much is expected when much is given. Taylor is only 27 and presumably has a few good years left to play so it isn’t over for him yet but he is probably the poster boy for mercurial players.
I’ve often pondered players like David Taylor who have a certain skill set but don’t seem to reach their peak or consistently cash in on their prodigious talent. Feleti Mateo, Krisnan Inu and Chris Sandow spring to mind. I’m not talking about those players with behavioural issues which hold them back. Todd Carney is one of those. I’m talking about those with a clean rap sheet and have the full arsenal of skills but don’t seem to use them all the time. They fade in and out of games. They win the game for a team on occasion but other times they lose the game or worst of all, are simply not in the game. Commentators call them ‘rocks or diamonds’ players.
Sometimes I think the answer is that we have overrated them in the first place. The sublime nature of their skills causes us to miss the inconsistency of their application. Maybe they are just average players and have reached their potential. Take the good with the bad and all that. This doesn’t seem to adequately answer the question though.
I’ve hatched a new theory to help explain these players and I’m using comedians to extrapolate. I’m calling it the Robin Williams’ Conundrum. Robin Williams had 3 kinds of roles. The first was when he pretty much had free reign and could do whatever he wanted (Mrs Doubtfire or Good Morning Vietnam). That mostly worked out well. Any interview with Williams went this way and consisted mainly of him riffing for the entire interview at dizzying speed. The second sort of role was when he was the star of the movie but it just didn’t work at all. He was supposed to carry the movie but for some reason it just wasn’t a good fit (Flubber or Father’s Day). The last kind of role he played was when he was constrained to a particular style of movie or character and he didn’t necessarily have to carry the movie but he simply stole the show anyways (Alladin, Good Will Hunting or Dead Poets Society). It worked because the role was a very specific role which he was able to carry off with aplomb.
The Robin Williams’ Conundrum equally applies to David Taylor and every other mystery wrapped up in an enigma. The first role is when Taylor can pretty much do what he wants, which is playing off the top of his head. He can run, pass or kick and generally act like a halfback trapped in a prop’s body. Given the nature of Superleague and the Catalans Dragons, this is exactly the role Taylor plays now. The second kind of role is when he is asked to step up and carry a team but it doesn’t seem to work at all. This is Taylor’s NRL days. It should have worked at the Broncos, Rabbitohs and Titans. In the highly regulated NRL environment Taylor was given a very specific role. For the most part he was asked to terrorize either the middle third but mainly the edge with his menacing ball running and offload the odd ball. He generally commanded a top tier salary because of his potential. Eventually each club found him surplus to requirements. He just didn’t perform consistently enough. The third role has never happened for Taylor. If Taylor could have excelled within the limited role he was tasked with in the NRL, he would still be playing for any of his previous teams. Ten years in the NRL didn’t seem to produce that for longer than a few games at a time.
David Taylor is yet to truly master the Robin Williams’ Conundrum. Here’s hoping that things work out in France. It seems his best chance of long term success.
What is sweeter than Jelly Bread?
- GSW. A season for the ages. Now the playoffs.
- PNG Hunters. I keep thinking that they will not be able to cover the numerous player losses each year, however, the assembly line of available players in PNG is obviously very deep.
- Cameron Cullen. Nice debut for the Titans. Ashley Taylor also played well. His kicking game is mature beyond its years.
- West Indies Cricket. Not the administration. Not the brouhaha regarding contentious speeches and the like. The Men’s and Women’s Cricket sides which won the World T20 Championships against all odds. Nice.
- Newcastle United. I keep thinking they are going to fight their way out of this one. Even the most optimistic Geordie thinks the drop is inevitable now.
EPL Tips Match Week 34
Norwich vs Sunderland – Norwich 2-1
Everton vs Southampton – Everton 2-1
Man U vs Aston Villa – Man U 4-0
Newcastle vs Swansea – Newcastle 3-2
West Brom vs Watford – West Brom 2-1
Chelsea vs Man City – Draw 2-2
Bournemouth vs Liverpool – Liverpool 1-0
Leicester vs West Ham – Leicester 2-0
Arsenal vs Crystal Palace – Arsenal 3-0
Stoke vs Tottenham – Tottenham 2-1
Newcastle vs Man City – Man City 2-0
West Ham vs Watford – West Ham 2-1
Liverpool vs Everton – Liverpool 2-0
Man U vs Crystal Palace – Man U 3-0
BTW I’m going head to head with Lawro (Mark Lawrenson of the BBC) again this year. He has gone and changed his scoring system (a correct result (picking a win, draw or defeat) is worth TEN points and picking an exact score FORTY points).
Me – 130 (7 from 11 with 2 perfect scores) and Lawro – 130 (7 from 11 with 2 perfect scores)
Season so far
Me – 2470 and Lawro – 2410 (This is going right to the wire)
NRL Tips Round 7
As mentioned previously, tipping against the spread this year.
Sea Eagles (+1.5) vs Eels – Eels
Cowboys vs Rabbitohs (+10.0) – Cowboys
Titans vs Dragons (+3.5) – Titans
Bulldogs (+0.5) vs Warriors – Bulldogs
Broncos vs Knights (+17.5) – Knights
Raiders vs Sharks (+2.5) – Raiders
Tigers (+2.5) vs Storm – Storm
Roosters (+2.5) vs Panthers – Panthers
Season so far
Wow. Doing worse and worse.
Stay tuned for the next exciting episode on Saturday, 23 April 2016 titled ‘U Can’t Touch This – Do the refs really need the MC Hammer treatment’.