Red Devil Taylor’s ready for take-off MEET SALFORD’S REAL HIGH FLIER
ELIJAH TAYLOR can fly his new Salford team-mates to Catalans – after qualifying as a commercial pilot.
The New Zealand international is expected to take off for the Red Devils on the field after playing more than 180 NRL games with New Zealand Warriors, Penrith Panthers and Wests Tigers.
But Taylor is also fully at home among the clouds after preparing for life after rugby league by earning his pilot wings.
He said: “It took me 15 months to go from not flying at all to being a fully qualified commercial pilot.
“After training at the Tigers I would go home and study by myself – and whenever I had a day off I’d clock the hours up.
“The flying is the easy part, it’s the exams and performance charts that are really difficult, and there’s a lot of air law and heaps about the weather. There were seven exams I needed to pass and it was a grind at times, but I’m glad I’ve finished now.
“The plan is to be a commercial pilot once I’ve finished, although it’s probably not the best time at the moment because with Covid the industry has been crippled.”
Before that, loose-forward Taylor is eager to make an impact at the Red Devils under their new coach Richard Marshall. He is one of a host of arrivals at the club as they look to continue competing for major honours in the wake of Ian Watson’s exit to Huddersfield.
The move also affords the 30-year-old Taylor the chance of a fresh start after the ordeal of his former manager misappropriating £200,000 from him over the course of four years. Ian Miles was found to have made 937 unauthorised transactions from a business account of Taylor’s by a New Zealand High Court judge last month, spending money on holidays, gifts for his wife, motorbikes, clothing and furniture.
Taylor added: “It was a massive shock when I found out and extremely disappointing.
“It took from 2017 to last year just to get it to court and was always at the back of my mind even though nobody else knew. It’s been good to get out of Sydney and I can’t wait to work with Rich, he’s a great young coach.
“There are a lot of young players here that hopefully I can pass my experience on and provide some leadership.”