Elijah Taylor

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Elijah Taylor
DSC 0037-COPY.jpg
Personal information
Born (1990-02-27) 27 February 1990 (age 28)
Hawera, New Zealand
Height 190 cm (6 ft 3 in)
Weight 101 kg (15 st 13 lb)
Playing information
Position Lock, Second-row, Hooker
Years Team Pld T G FG P
2011–13 New Zealand Warriors 67 14 0 0 56
2014–16 Penrith Panthers 39 3 0 0 12
2016– Wests Tigers 54 7 0 0 28
Total 160 24 0 0 96
Years Team Pld T G FG P
2011–17 New Zealand 11 2 0 0 8
As of 28 December 2018
Source: [1]

Elijah Taylor (born 27 February 1990) is a New Zealand professional rugby league footballer who plays for and is co-captain of Wests Tigers in the National Rugby League. A New Zealand international representative, he plays as a lock, second-row, five-eighth and hooker and previously played for the New Zealand Warriors and Penrith Panthers.


Born in Hawera, New Zealand, Taylor is of Māori Descent. Taylor played rugby union as a youngster, playing for the Patea Rugby Club and representing age group teams in Taranaki, Northland and Auckland, before taking up rugby league in 2006 while studying at St. Paul's College.[2] Taylor also attended Patea High School and Kaitaia College before moving to Auckland.[3]

Playing career

Early career

In 2007, while at St Paul's, Taylor was selected for the New Zealand Māori under-18s side.

Taylor was signed by the New Zealand Warriors on a development contract, where he played for the Otahuhu Leopards club in Auckland Rugby League competitions and the Tamaki Titans in the Bartercard Cup. With the creation of the Toyota Cup in 2008, Taylor joined the Warriors under-20 side and in 2009 became team captain. Taylor missed only one of the team's first 46 matches.[4] In August 2009, Taylor was to become the eighth player to make his first grade debut from the under-20 side when he was named to play against the Gold Coast Titans in Round 22, but had to withdraw from the game due to a hamstring injury.[5] On 3 October 2010, Taylor captained the Warriors under-20s team in the 2010 Toyota Cup Grand Final match against the South Sydney Rabbitohs, where he started at second-row and scored 2 tries in the 42-26 win.[6] Taylor finished his Toyota Cup career with 52 matches and 14 tries.[7]


In Round 4, Taylor made his long-awaited NRL debut for the Warriors against the Cronulla-Sutherland Sharks, playing off the interchange bench in the 26-18 win at Owen Delany Park in Taupo.[8][9] In Round 6 against the Manly-Warringah Sea Eagles, Taylor scored his first NRL try in the Warriors 20-10 loss at Brookvale Oval.[10] On 2 October 2011, Taylor played for the Warriors in their 2011 NRL Grand Final match against the Manly-Warringah Sea Eagles, starting at second-row and scoring a try in the Warriors 24-10 loss at ANZ Stadium.[11][12] Taylor finished his debut year with 4 tries from 21 matches. Selected for the New Zealand national rugby league team Four Nations squad, he made his international debut on 5 November against Wales, playing off the interchange bench in the 36-0 win at Wembley Stadium.[13][14] Taylor played in 2 matches for the Kiwis in the tournament.


Taylor finished the 2012 NRL season with 23 matches and 2 tries for the Warriors. On 13 October, he played for New Zealand against Australia in the trans-Tasman test.[15]


On 7 March, Taylor announced that he signed a 4-year deal with the Penrith Panthers, starting from 2014, joining former Warriors' coach Ivan Cleary. Penrith Manager Phil Gould said he had, "been specifically targeted by the club, not only for his elite footballing talent, but also based on his tremendous character and leadership qualities."[16]

Taylor during 2013 World Cup

On 19 April, he played in the 2013 Anzac Test, playing off the interchange bench in the 32-12 loss.[17] Taylor finished his last year with the Warriors with 8 tries from 23 matches. At the end of the year, he was selected in the New Zealand 2013 Rugby League World Cup squad, scoring his first international try in the 56-10 win against Papua New Guinea at Headingley Stadium.[18][19] On 30 November, Taylor started at lock in the 34-2 loss to Australia in the World Cup Final.[20][21] He played in all six of the Kiwis World Cup matches.


In Round 1, Taylor made his club debut for the Penrith Panthers against the Newcastle Knights, where he started at second-row and scored a try in the Panthers 30-8 win at Penrith Stadium.[22] Taylor missed the 2014 Anzac Test through injury.[23] In Round 21, he suffered a season ending ACL knee injury,[24] limiting him to 17 matches for the season.


Taylor missed the 2015 Anzac Test due to injury.[25] Midway through the season, he was averaging over 50 tackles a game, but was still mentally troubled by his knee reconstruction. "The lack of confidence in my knee goes to my head and sometimes it doesn't feel as strong as it should. I have thoughts of doing it again and the thought of six months of rehab again is scary, they're bad thoughts, and I won't lie they are always there in the back of my mind," he said.[26]

In Round 20 against the Canberra Raiders, Taylor played his 100th career match and also scored a try in the Panthers 34-24 loss at Penrith Stadium.[27] In Round 24 against the St George Illawarra Dragons, Taylor’s season was ended due to a hand injury.[28] Taylor finished the 2015 NRL season with 20 matches and a try. On 8 September, he was named in the New Zealand train-on squad for the end of year tour of Great Britain,[29][30] but didn’t make the final squad.[31]


Elijah Taylor.jpg

Considered a potential captain for Panthers in 2016, Taylor was dropped to the NSW Cup team by new coach Anthony Griffin in favour of rookie James Fisher-Harris.[32] On 2 May, Taylor joined the Wests Tigers effective immediately, after being released from his Panthers contract.[33] Taylor played in 2 matches for the Panthers in 2016 before the shift to the Tigers. Taylor said, "They wanted me to be more aggressive in defence. That's what I was working on. I'm not the one to go out and put on a big shot or whack someone in a tackle. My strength is to consistently be there, wrestle and lead the line speed. But I realised I wasn't going to play first grade even though I thought I had done everything that was asked of me. I was a bit frustrated, but I'm not a person to get angry. I just wanted to play first grade again, so that's why I'm at the Tigers."[34]

In Round 10, Taylor made his club debut for the Wests Tigers against the Bulldogs, starting at second-row in the 36-4 loss at ANZ Stadium.[35] In his next game, he was named Man of the Match. With part of the game spent playing hooker after an injury to Matt Ballin, He made 50 tackles and set up 2 tries. Captain Aaron Woods said, "He's been really good for our defensive line as well. Just the amount of talk he brings. He's a player I'm really glad we picked him up."[36] In the next game against the Brisbane Broncos , Taylor scored his first try for the Wests Tigers in the 19-18 victory and was named the Man of the Match for the second week in a row.[37]

On 21 November, Taylor re-signed with the Wests Tigers on a 1-year deal with a 2nd year option in his favour, that would see him at the club until 2018.


Taking the responsibility of vice-captain, Taylor was a regular in first grade in 2017, with 5 tries from 21 games. He played most of the season at lock, before swapping with Matt Eisenhuth to play in second row later in the year. With 891 tackles, Taylor's was the club's leader and 5th best in the NRL.[38] He was awarded the Kelly-Barnes Medal for the Wests Tigers player of the year.[39]

At season's end, Taylor renewed his contract to remain at the club to the end of 2020. He said, "Ivan coming in as head coach was a big factor in me deciding to stay. He's an experienced coach and has coached me at both the Warriors and Penrith, he's the reason I moved to Australia, knowing what kind of coach he is, what his principles are and the way he likes to play football was probably the biggest factor."[40]


After the departure of Aaron Woods, Taylor was named as one of 5 co-captains at Wests Tigers, alongside Benji Marshall, Chris Lawrence, Russell Packer and Josh Reynolds. Coach Ivan Cleary said, "I just think it's the right model for us right now. When we started this preseason it was pretty obvious straight away that there was no real pecking order. There was no set culture to adhere to. It was all new."[41]


  1. ^ "Elijah Taylor - Career Stats & Summary". Rugby League Project. Retrieved 2016-03-14.
  2. ^ Aaron Lawton (2011-11-03). "Elijah Taylor enjoying the league dream". Stuff.co.nz. Retrieved 2016-03-14.
  3. ^ "Elijah's Story | The Official Site of Elijah Taylor | New Zealand Kiwis #770 | Penrith Panther". Elijahtaylor.co.nz. Retrieved 2016-03-14.
  4. ^ "McKinnon Stood Down Titans Clash". Tvnz.co.nz. Retrieved 2016-03-14.
  5. ^ Johnstone, Duncan (9 August 2009). "Titans too slick for Warriors". Stuff.co.nz. Retrieved 29 September 2011.
  6. ^ "Bunnies Lament Another Near Miss". Dailytelegraph.com.au. Retrieved 2016-03-14.
  7. ^ [1][dead link]
  8. ^ "Home | Live Scores & Latest News". Fox Sports. Retrieved 2016-03-14.
  9. ^ Steve Kilgallon (2011-04-04). "Warrior Elijah Taylor takes long-awaited chance". Stuff.co.nz. Retrieved 2016-03-14.
  10. ^ "Sea Eagles cruise past Warriors - ABC News (Australian Broadcasting Corporation)". Abc.net.au. 2011-04-16. Retrieved 2016-03-14.
  11. ^ "2011 NRL Grand Final". Dailytelegraph.com.au. Retrieved 2016-03-14.
  12. ^ "Home | Live Scores & Latest News". Fox Sports. Retrieved 2016-03-14.
  13. ^ Aaron Lawton (2011-11-03). "Elijah Taylor enjoying the league dream". Stuff.co.nz. Retrieved 2016-03-14.
  14. ^ "Home | Live Scores & Latest News". Fox Sports. Retrieved 2016-03-14.
  15. ^ "Australia v New Zealand". Dailytelegraph.com.au. Retrieved 2016-03-14.
  16. ^ Ben Stanley and Duncan Johnstone (2013-03-07). "Taylor ditches Warriors to sign for Panthers". Stuff.co.nz. Retrieved 2016-03-14.
  17. ^ "Home | Live Scores & Latest News". Fox Sports. Retrieved 2016-03-14.
  18. ^ "Home | Live Scores & Latest News". Fox Sports. Retrieved 2016-03-14.
  19. ^ "New Zealand 56-10 Papua New Guinea | World Cup match report | Sport". The Guardian. Retrieved 2016-03-14.
  20. ^ Bott, Richard. "Australia 34 New Zealand 2: Kangaroos crowned world champions | Daily Mail Online". Dailymail.co.uk. Retrieved 2016-03-14.
  21. ^ "World Cup final player ratings". NRL.com. 2013-12-01. Retrieved 2016-03-14.
  22. ^ "Panthers Belt Knights at Sportingbet Stadium". Dailytelegraph.com.au. Retrieved 2016-03-14.
  23. ^ "Kangaroos Test team named". NRL.com. 2014-04-27. Archived from the original on 2016-01-14. Retrieved 2016-03-14.
  24. ^ "Panther's Win Over Canterbury on Friday Comes at a Cost of Three Stars". Dailytelegraph.com.au. Retrieved 2016-03-14.
  25. ^ Michael Chammas (2015-04-22). "Penrith Panthers forward Elijah Taylor feared season was over after picking up knee injury". Smh.com.au. Retrieved 2016-03-14.
  26. ^ "Panther Taylor reveals mental demons". NRL.com. 2015-07-21. Retrieved 2016-03-14.
  27. ^ Jon Tuxworth. "Josh Hodgson masterclass steers Canberra Raiders to crucial win at Penrith". Smh.com.au. Retrieved 2016-03-14.
  28. ^ "Panthers forward Taylor out for season". NRL.com. Retrieved 2016-03-14.
  29. ^ "Penrith Panther Elijah Taylor eyes Kiwis tour to England". Stuff.co.nz. 2015-09-06. Retrieved 2016-03-14.
  30. ^ "League: Kiwis to manage Mannering's workload on England tour - Rugby League - NZ Herald News". Nzherald.co.nz. 2015-09-08. Retrieved 2016-03-14.
  31. ^ "Issac Luke, Adam Blair to co-captain Kiwis for England tour". Stuff.co.nz. 2015-10-08. Retrieved 2016-03-14.
  32. ^ "Panthers slapped with more injury woes". NRL.com. 2016-03-05. Retrieved 2016-03-14.
  33. ^ "Wests Tigers sign Elijah Taylor". Zero Tackle. Retrieved 2016-05-02.
  34. ^ Michael Chammas. "Why Penrith Panthers coach Anthony Griffin let Elijah Taylor leave for Wests Tigers". Sydney Morning Herald.
  35. ^ Gould, Phil (15 May 2016). "Pack mentality of Bulldogs too good for Wests Tigers" – via The Sydney Morning Herald.
  36. ^ Jack Brady (21 May 2016). "Tigers buoyed by new Mr Fix-It". nrl.com. Retrieved 22 May 2016.
  37. ^ Jackson, Ed (28 May 2016). "Elijah Taylor proves an instant hit at Tigers" – via The Sydney Morning Herald.
  38. ^ "Player stats". nrl.com. Archived from the original on 4 September 2017.
  39. ^ "2017 Presentation Night Awards Winners". weststigers.com.au.
  40. ^ Michael Di Lonardo. "Taylor puts Tigers over Warriors homecoming". Sporting News. Archived from the original on 9 September 2017.
  41. ^ Michael Chammas. "Wests Tigers name five co-captains for 2018". nrl.com. Archived from the original on 14 February 2018.

External links

  • Wests Tigers profile
  • Tigers profile
  • Penrith Panthers profile
  • NRL profile
  • 2017 RLWC profile
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