Jason Taylor, the former coach of South Sydney who was sacked for his part in a brawl which followed a drinking session, believes he still has the support of at least "90 per cent" of his former players. Taylor was dismissed after he was felled by a punch from the Souths forward David Fa'alogo, whose contract was also terminated, at the club's end-of-season celebration a fortnight ago.
He has been replaced by the veteran former Australia coach John Lang, but Taylor claims his former charges want him reinstated in time for the 2010 campaign. "Right now the relationship I have with these players is as strong as any relationship I have had with the team in my life," Taylor told Sydney radio. "I had overwhelming strong support from pretty much every player. "Right now I just feel great about where I've finished with those players, how they think about me and how I think about them."
Taylor refused to discuss whether he would pursue charges or a civil suit against Fa'alogo, who only had two months left in NRL before heading to the UK Super League side Huddersfield. "There's a whole other story," Taylor added. "I just want people to understand I've been wronged." Parramatta secured their place in a mouth-watering preliminary final against their western Sydney rivals the Bulldogs next week, after they dispatched Gold Coast 27-2 yesterday.
Brisbane and St George Illawarra meet today, with the winner advancing to a preliminary final against Melbourne Storm. In the UK, St Helens captain Keiron Cunningham hopes to give his side's loyal supporters something to shout about when they host Huddersfield in their Super League play-off tonight. The Saints kick-off the new, mini-season in the competition's innovative eight team play-off series, after finishing second in the regular campaign, four points behind Leeds.
"Our fans were outstanding when we played Leeds at Headingley," said Cunningham. "Saints fans are and will always be an important part of the club. I understand they will be largely disappointed with what has happened this season as we are used to winning as a club. It hurts us too, but this season isn't over yet. We are looking forward to the grand final; we know our ability and know what we have to do."
Mick Potter, the St Helens coach, added: "It will be a tough physical match and we will need them behind us. "That's why finishing second is important. It is about the fans, along with playing at home, to collectively boost the team to play as well as they possibly can." Wakefield and Catalans meet in tonight's elimination play-off, the losers of which will drop out of the race for a place in the grand final.