Elijah Taylor doesn't regret leaving Warriors

MICHAEL CHAMMAS
Last updated 07:01 24/06/2014
Elijah Taylor
Getty
NO REGRETS: Former Warrior Elijah Taylor is happy with his decision to leave the Auckland-based club to ply his trade for the Ivan Cleary-coached Panthers.

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He would not divulge the details of his conversation with Simon Mannering, but Elijah Taylor said a heart-to-heart chat with his former skipper helped reassure him he was making the right decision joining the Panthers.

After agreeing to terms with Penrith at the start of last season, Taylor told his Warriors teammates individually of his decision to move on. But it is his conversation with Mannering, one that he was reluctant to open up about, that stood out the most to Taylor.

"I can't really talk about that," Taylor said of his chat with the Warriors captain. "He wasn't filthy, no way. It was a good conversation. It sat well with me, Simon's one of the strongest players I know. I'd follow him anywhere, he's a great leader. Me and Simon are really tight, we talked about a few things and yeah. He was supportive, 100 per cent. He would support any decision the boys make, he's just that type of guy. I've got so much respect for him.

"I remember telling the boys and they were very supportive. I told them all individually at the start of the year and they all wished me well. I have got a lot of good friends in that team and a lot of brothers in that team. There's a tight culture over there and I left on good terms."

After signing with Penrith to reunite with his old coach Ivan Cleary, the Warriors urged Taylor to reconsider his decision before the round-13 deadline.

"They asked me to reconsider but you can't turn your back on contracts," Taylor said. "Your name just turns to mud if you do that."

One of Taylor's closest friends at the Warriors was hooker Nathan Friend. In just two years the pair forged a close relationship that Taylor insists taught him a valuable lesson about the way to approach the game.

"Nathan Friend, he taught me a lot," Taylor said. "He's a very good player and he's very professional. You want to learn off those players. Two years I was there with him. Just his work ethic. He's one of the smallest blokes on the field but he'd always top the tackle count. If there was a breakaway try you'd always see Friendy chasing after him.

"He's a selfless player. He's all for the team and he's great to learn off. I certainly learnt a lot off him. There might be a bit of banter during the week but he's a man of few words who backs it up with his actions on the field."

With former teammates Lewis Brown and Isaac John as well as fellow Kiwis Sam McKendry, Dean Whare and Sika Manu all at the Panthers, Taylor said the transition had been smooth.

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"It's good to know you're going to place where you know people," he said. "It would be a bit different if I didn't know anyone. I'm very happy with the decision and have made some great friends. There are some characters in this team who are very funny.

"I've played some test matches with some of the boys, you build strong relationships on tours. They're great blokes, good players as well and good friendships.

Taylor also has a close relationship with Cleary who, despite matching up against his former club, hasn't shown any indication of it being anything other than just another game of football.

"Ivan never changes, he'll always be the same," Taylor said. "I've never seen him flustered. He's exactly the same this week as he would be any other week."

- Sydney Morning Herald

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