Parramatta Eels grand final legend Paul Taylor was left homeless and begging on the street

Parramatta Eels legend Paul Taylor has revealed how he went through hell when he ended up homeless after retiring and was forced to live on McDonald’s hash browns while he begged for money.

The former fullback, 63 – who was a favourite of legendary Eels coach Jack Gibson and played surrounded by superstars such as Peter Sterling, Brett Kenny, Mick Cronin and Ray Price – won four premierships with the team in the 1980s.

But a decade later, the glory days were well and truly over – Taylor was flat broke and living rough on the streets.

‘I once had two houses. I had a four-acre property in Matcham [on the NSW Central Coast] and another place at Umina,’ Taylor said.

‘I [also] got divorced but it wasn’t her fault. It was just the way things went.’

When he moved to Queensland in a bid to be closer to his son Jamie, Taylor’s life began to unravel.

Victory laps at the SCG with his Eels teammates were a distant memory as he was forced to exist on a diet of $1 McDonald’s hash browns and stolen teabags.

Taylor also slept in parks around Brisbane’s CBD, from the Botanic Gardens to the Story Bridge, where he begged for money and wore the same clothes, sometimes for up to a week.

The brutal existence lasted around 18 months, and was roughly 15 years ago – but Taylor isn’t sure of the exact dates of the lowest point of his life.

‘One day you’re playing in front of 50,000 people and the next minute you’re sitting in a park with two homeless people,’ he told the Daily Telegraph.

‘It toughens you up. It was all about existence.’

Eventually Taylor turned his life around, securing employment near Uluru in the Northern Territory.

He worked three jobs and was earning $3000 a week while on the books of Longitude 131, a luxury resort near the famous rock.

These days he runs a landscaping business on the Gold Coast and resides on the water at Main Beach.

He also had a message for Parramatta ahead of their grand final showdown with Penrith this Sunday: fight for everything.

‘You [might] only get one shot at it,’ he said. ‘If what you are doing isn’t working, change it.

‘If I didn’t fight, I would still be in the park.’

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  • 14 минут назад 08.12.2022Sport
    Ricky Ponting admits he has to turn the TV down when he hears Shane Warne’s voice

    The void left by Shane Warne’s premature death is such that Ricky Ponting has to turn down the TV whenever he hears his late friend’s voice.

    The spin king was elevated to Legend status in the Sport Australia Hall of Fame on Thursday and Ponting voiced an emotional tribute to his former teammate, who died in March at the age of 52 while on holiday in Thailand.

    ‘Since his passing, I don’t know if you’ve been the same at home, but if there’s been any replays of cricket games on, I’ve had to turn it down,’ Ponting said to Matthew Hayden on Channel 7.

    ‘You can hear his voice somewhere, and then you go and find where it is in the house and you have to turn it down.

    ‘We all notice the loss most when the summer starts here in Australia.

    ‘When he’s not here and when you’re not hearing the bold predictions, and you’re not hearing his genius in the commentary box.’

    Warne would have been a regular guest in the commentary box this summer for the T20 World Cup, the ODI series against England and the Test series against the West Indies and South Africa.

    But Ponting joked the late spin great would be missed far beyond the confines of a commentary box.

    ‘The fact we don’t get to see him on the golf course and get some money out of him as well through the course of the summer,’ he quipped to Hayden.

    [He’s] Very sadly missed.

    In the three-minute video, Ponting described Warne as ‘the greatest cricketer of the modern era’ and the man who ‘single-handedly inspired a generation of boys and girls all around the world’ to take up cricket.

    He recalls the extraordinary win against England in Adelaide during the 2005-06 Ashes series as one of his fondest memories of his former teammate.

    With Australia 1-0 up in the series after winning in Brisbane, England declared on 6-551 in the first innings. The Aussies replied with 513, before bundling England out for a mere 129 as Warne too 4-49 in 32 overs, setting up the platform for an improbable six-wicket win.

    ‘It was time to sit back and watch The King on his stage,’ Ponting said of Warne’s performance.

    ‘He bowled 32 of the most extraordinary overs.’

    Warne and Ponting were part of the Australia squad that won the 1999 Cricket World Cup and won five of the six Ashes series they played together.

    Ponting hailed his former teammate as the ‘ultimate competitor’, who was ‘never beaten’.

    He added: ‘His achievements, passion and knowledge of the game was something to behold. He was a superstar, a game-changer

    Warne and Ponting first met in 1992 at the Cricket Academy in Adelaide and ‘hit it off from our very first introduction’, becoming close friends.

    ‘He showed me the ropes, gave me my nickname that has stuck with me ever since,’ the former Aussie captain said in the tribute.

    ‘I miss those chats so much.’

    The tribute ended with Ponting putting down the microphone, chocking back the tears.

    ‘I got through it pretty good, made my way through,’ Ponting told Hadyen, who played alongside him and Warne in the all-conquering Aussie side that dominated across different formats for over a decade.

    ‘It was all on autocue, I could see the end on the bottom of the page.

    ‘I was going through it and it got down to the bottom bit and that’s when I lost it a little bit there. I could go on for another 10 or 15 minutes.’

    Warne’s death came just hours after Rod Marsh passed away and two months before Andrew Symonds, who also played with Warne, Ponting and Hayden, died in a car crash.

    Ponting himself suffered a health scare last week, when he had to abruptly leave Channel 7’s commentary position during the first Test between Australia and the West Indies in Perth and was rushed to hospital after complaining of chest pains.

    The emotion of losing such close friends in such a short time was ‘raw’, Hayden said, as he reflected on an incredibly said years for Australian cricket.

    ‘We can rejoice in the fact that their spirit lives on in our great game,’ he said.

    ‘In the spirit of cricket.’

  • 14 минут назад 08.12.2022Sport
    German football chiefs ‘blame “holiday feeling”‘ for World Cup failure

    The ‘holiday feeling’ atmosphere at Germany’s ‘secluded’ resort in Qatar – with WAGs ‘taking selfies in the pool while players looked after kids’ has reportedly been brought up as a reason behind their World Cup failure.

    Germany suffered back-to-back group stage exits at the World Cup, following up their miserable performance in Russia in 2018 with another worrisome group stage, exiting at the hands of Japan and Spain.

    Bild report that during a two-hour crisis meeting – DFB President Bernd Neuendorf and Vice President Hans-Joachim Watzke among the attendees – to unpack what went wrong in Qatar, the behaviour of friends and family at the team’s hotel came up, with players in the squad uncomfortable at the ‘holiday feeling’ in the camp.

    After the comeback draw against Spain it was reported that Germany’s players invited their wives and girlfriends to stay at the plush hotel resort ahead of a final round showdown with Costa Rica.

    The WAGs were allowed to stay for two nights before leaving the isolated wellness Resort, Bild reported.

    Several of the players’ partners were in the stands for the 1-1 draw against Spain at the Al Bayt Stadium, including Sophia Weber, the girlfriend of Kai Havertz, and goalkeeper Kevin Trapp’s fiancee Izabel Goulart.

    But it now appears the WAGs’ visit caused friction among German FA staff, senior management and some players.

    For manager Hansi Flick, he ‘does not accept’ the family stays and secluded base is to blame.

    But German football’s top brass have reportedly been left as bemused by events off the pitch as events on it.

    Germany elected to stay at the Zulal Wellness Resort in the north of Qatar, one of the furthest accommodations away from central Doha.

    It is a five-star, 28-hectare, 120-room resort, which reaches out into the Arabian Gulf, where rooms can cost up to £1,400-a-night.

    The distance away from Doha – more than 111 kilometres – brought its own problems beyond selfies among WAGS by the pool.

    Early in the tournament FIFA fined the German FA after they failed to put a player forward to attend the press conference ahead of their World Cup match with Spain.

    A player is obligated to be sent to each press conference the day before their match to take questions alongside their manager.

    However, Germany boss Flick arrived at the main media centre in Doha alone, save for some accompanying officials from the German Federation, leading to FIFA launching a probe into the matter.

    Flick’s explanation for travelling solo from their base camp in Qatar’s north was the fact he didn’t want a key player being subjected to an unnecessary three-hour round trip.

    ‘It’s so important that they devote their energy to training,’ Flick said.

    The FA confirmed on Wednesday that Flick will remain as head coach of the national side through to Euro 2024 – a tournament that will be played in Germany.

    Neuendorf said: ‘We are all convinced that the 2024 European Championship in our own country represents a great opportunity for football in Germany.

    ‘Our goal is to make this tournament a sporting success. We have full confidence in Hansi Flick that he will master this challenge together with his team.’

    Flick added: ‘My coaching team and I are optimistic about the European Championship in our own country.

    ‘We as a team can achieve much more than we showed in Qatar. We have missed a great opportunity there. We will learn our lessons from that.’

  • 14 минут назад 08.12.2022Sport
    World Cup: Cristiano Ronaldo ‘wanted to WALK OUT on Portugal’ after being axed for Switzerland clash

    Explosive reports in Portugal today claim Cristiano Ronaldo was ready to walk out on his country’s World Cup squad after learning he had been dropped from their starting XI against Switzerland.

    The former Man United star has overshadowed Fernando Santos’ preparations for most of the tournament after the fallout of his exit from Old Trafford – but his poor performances for his country, coupled with his own attitude problems in their camp, have led to tensions with his boss.

    And Portuguese outfit Record have claimed that the legendary forward wanted to pack his bags and quit the World Cup after holding talks with Santos, having found out he would not feature in the line-up for the last-16 clash this week.

    The Portuguese FA deny the claims, saying Ronaldo ‘builds up a unique track record every day at the service of the national team and the country, which must be respected and which attests to the unquestionable degree of commitment to the national team.’

    They claim his ‘dedication was demonstrated’ against Switzerland – despite his post-match sulking following the last-16 victory.

    Ronaldo came on for Portugal in their 6-1 thrashing of the Swiss but then cut an isolated figure at full-time as he walked off the pitch alone while the rest of his team-mates were celebrating their progress to the quarter-finals.

    After being told he would not start in the game, Ronaldo had a sit-down with Santos and made it clear he was unhappy with his decision not to play him – threatening to pack his bags and leave Qatar during a ‘tense’ conversation, the report claims.

    However, he is understood to have ‘come to his senses’, and realised ‘the importance and urgency’ of keeping things stable in Portugal’s camp and ‘quickly changed his mind’.

    It adds that the rest of the Portugal squad acknowledge that Ronaldo is in the public eye and that every step he takes is scrutinised, but claims there is a ‘clear intention’ from the players ‘not to let the star’s actions have any negative impact’ to ensure the team have the best chance of winning the World Cup.

    Ronaldo – who has had a difficult time in Qatar and netted just once – sought to ease tensions this week as he posted on social media to ‘congratulate’ Santos’ selections despite not picking him.

    ‘Amazing day for Portugal, with a historic result in the biggest event in world football,’ he wrote.

    ‘Luxury display of a team full of talent and youth. Our Selection is to be congratulated. The dream is alive! To the end! Go ahead, Portugal!’.

    However, this week it was reported by Spanish media that Ronaldo had not trained with the substitutes from Portugal’s win and instead joined the players who had started in the gym.

    Marca claimed that Ronaldo went for a low-intensity gym session with the starters, despite playing less than 20 minutes against Switzerland as a substitute. The game saw his replacement Goncalo Ramos net a hat-trick – fully justifying Santos’ decision to drop him.

    Ronaldo has previously infuriated his coach by reacting angrily to being substituted in their 2-1 loss to South Korea in the group stages last week – admitting he ‘really didn’t like it’.

    ‘If I see the images, yes, I didn’t like it, not at all. I really didn’t like it,’ Santos said of Ronaldo’s reaction to going off.

    ‘Everything is finished, full stop, regarding that issue and now we have to think about the match and everyone is focused on the match.

    ‘I only decide who is going to be the captain when I reach the stadium so I don’t know the line-up.

    ‘That’s what I’ve always done and that’s what I’m always going to do. It’s going to be the same with this match.’

    Meanwhile, Ronaldo’s sister Katia Aveiro has urged her brother to leave Qatar and return home to a place where he is shown ‘gratitude’ after his Portugal snub.

    Portugal play Morocco in their quarter-final clash on Saturday at 3pm – with Ronaldo expected to be on the bench again following Ramos’ sensational display.

  • 2 часа, 15 минут назад 08.12.2022Sport
    Footy legend Laurie Daley says NRL will have its first female head coach within 10 years

    Rugby league has been seen as only a man’s game for many, many years – but no longer, according to footy legend Laurie Daley.

    The 53-year-old NSW, Kangaroos and Raiders great has firmly believes women are ready to makes waves in the NRL’s top coaching roles.

    It comes as the NRLW gets ready for its sixth season amidst a stunning rise in popularity, culminating in more than 42,000 people watching Millie Boyle’s Newcastle Knights defeat Parramatta in this year’s grand final.

    Daley has been a very vocal supporter of not only the NRLW since its inception, but of more girls and women playing and being involved with the game. He insists it’s ‘inevitable’ there will be a female coach at the top level in male footy very soon.

    ‘I think in the next five years we might start to see women as assistant coaches and then in ten years we might see our first-ever NRL female head coach. There are opportunities there now that weren’t there years ago,’ he told News Corp.

    ‘I think it’s inevitable that it will happen, a woman being a head coach or an assistant coach. That’s the way we’re tracking.’

    Daley’s comments are not part of a PR exercise driven by the governing body.

    His message is about females who have the same coaching and mentoring credentials of their male counterparts – of which there are many – being empowered to apply for and receive coaching roles they will excel in.

    Two of the highest-profile examples are former NRLW, Blues and Australian stars Ruan Sims and Kylie Hilder, who both seem perfectly poised to shatter the glass ceiling in rugby league.

    Sims, who is probably just as well known these days as her NRL star brothers Tariq, Ashton and Korbin, knows the men’s game intimately through her family and high-profile broadcasting role.

    So well versed is she in the playing, coaching and commentary roles she’s held in both the men’s and women’s game, she received an OAM last year for her services to rugby league.

    Hilder has more actual coaching pedigree, having guided the Blues to a State of Origin victory this season.

    The man who succeeded Daley as NSW coach, Brad Fittler, brought Hilder into the Blues coaching box and continues to mentor her.

    Daley said women like Hilder and Sims – and up-and-coming counterparts like Queensland’s Tahnee Norris and Western NSW Indigenous product Jess Skinner – could see themselves at the top level one day soon.

    ‘If they get an opportunity and are prepared to put in the hard work then I think they would do a good job. I can see no reason why it wouldn’t be accepted,’ he said.

    ‘There is certainly an opportunity for one or two women to be promoted into those roles. Maybe it could start with a coaching job in the under-20s, SG Ball, Jersey Flegg but eventually they would get there.’

    Top footy pundit Michelle Bishop, who shattered her own glass ceiling in the male-dominated world of sports journalism, appreciated the sentiment – but questioned why Daley felt the need to say it could only happen in several years time.

    ‘Laurie Daley has suggested that we will see a female full-time assistant coach within five years. He then talked about 10 years down the track that we’ll see a head coaching position held by women in the NRL,’ she said on SEN.

    ‘He says it’s inevitable and it is. (But) Why are we putting a time frame on this?

    ‘I just don’t want it to be a ticking box exercise and they have got to be the right person for the job.

    ‘Let it just play it out naturally and be genuine about it. Who knows? We could see someone in two or three years.’

    That’s something ‘other’ major footy code in the country has gotten right much better: Australian Rules.

    As per usual, the AFL has led the way, by a significant amount, when it comes to ensuring something isn’t a ‘box-ticking exercise’ – but instead is of tangible and important value to the game.

    For almost a decade, the AFL have worked hard at fostering elite female coaching talent and employing them in roles that they are just as qualified for as any male is.

    After a storied playing, coaching and teaching career, trailblazer Peta Searle became the first woman to earn a full-time coaching role in a male AFL program way back in 2014 with St Kilda.

    Geelong have already indicated they are keen for AFLW legend Daisy Pearce to be an assistant coach with the men’s side; and the league’s Women’s Coaching Acceleration program has ensured there is a huge array of both former players and mentors that are poised to make waves in an AFL program of either gender.

    But, one step at a time.

    Having footy legends like Daley and Fittler championing female coaches – even though the governing body doesn’t appear to offer much help – is a massive step in the right direction.

    Rugby league, as any sport, is better with a variety of genders, races and ages having a say in mentoring both young players and elite stars.

  • 2 часа, 15 минут назад 08.12.2022Sport
    UFC 286 is announced for London on March 18 next year

    UFC 286 will take place in London on March 18 next year, in the first numbered event to be held in Britain since Michael Bisping vs Dan Henderson in 2016.

    The organisation confirmed the news that had been widely expected, particularly after Dana White outlined his intentions earlier this year.

    The UFC president has seen two wildly successful cards hosted at the O2 Arena in 2022 and it is no surprise that another event has been booked.

    No fights have been announced at this stage but it will almost certainly be headlined by Leon Edwards’ trilogy against Kamaru Usman.

    Edwards shocked the world when he delivered a late head kick KO of the former welterweight champion, claiming his belt back in August.

    He had been losing the fight before the fifth-round finish but came up with the killer blow when it mattered.

    It was the first defeat in Usman’s UFC career and the ‘Nigerian Nightmare’ will be desperate to reclaim his place at the top.

    In terms of numbered events, UFC 284 will be the first since UFC 204 to take place in the UK.

    Bisping defended his middleweight title against Henderson in Manchester, on a card that started in the early hours of the morning to accommodate foreign TV audiences.

    It remains to be seen whether the UFC will opt for a similar strategy this time.

    Tickets will be available for general sale on January 27 via AXS and Ticketmaster, with Fight Club members having priority on January 25 followed by early registrants on January 26.

    There is a vast array of British talent making waves in the UFC and many of them graced the O2 Arena this year.

    The likes of Paddy Pimblett, Molly McCann, Muhammad Mokaev, Arnold Allen, Paul Craig and many more are likely to be pushing to compete in what will no doubt be a momentous night.

  • 2 часа, 15 минут назад 08.12.2022Sport
    Garry Lyon and Tim Watson’s boss apologises after footy legends ‘ignored fan’s anti-Semitic rant’

    SEN Radio boss Craig Hutchison has issued a grovelling apology on behalf of AFL legends Garry Lyon and Tim Watson after the high-profile duo were called out for giving their ‘stamp of approval’ to an anti-Semitic rant surrounding rising star Harry Sheezel.

    On December 2, a North Melbourne fan who identified himself as ‘John from Epping’ called the pair’s radio show and hit Sheezel with a disgraceful anti-Semitic slur.

    The forward, 18, has Jewish heritage – and ‘John’ questioned on the airwaves whether he was worth snaring from the AFL Draft.

    ‘We got this Jewish player (in the draft),’ John said.

    ‘You know, the Jewish, they are loaded with money, so maybe, we don’t need to go to Tasmania anymore, because probably if we needed some money his parents might pay for it.’

    Lyon failed to call out ‘John’ for the shocking rant, and later compared the youngster to ex-Geelong and GWS star Stevie Johnson.

    Watson also had the opportunity to condemn the comments, but stayed silent.

    Anti-Defamation Commission chairman Dr Dvir Abramovich condemned the on-air comments, saying the pair ‘essentially gave him their stamp of approval, and it gave a message to listeners that this type of language was legitimate and acceptable … it gave the comments power’.

    Hutchinson then conceded the incident was unacceptable.

    ‘I would like to extend a personal apology on behalf of SEN for any inadvertent offence caused regarding the segment on SEN Breakfast from our regular talkback caller, John from Epping,’ Hutchinson wrote in a statement to Dr Abramovich.

    ‘Hosts Garry and Tim recognised the inappropriate nature of the comment and made a judgement call that it was best discussed with John off air.

    ‘This conversation with the caller took place prior to the program ending.

    ‘Garry and Tim have always stood for an inclusive show for everyone. As a business, we pride ourselves on our standards and respect for all communities and acknowledge our role in the sports industry as leaders in this space.

    ‘We once again apologise for the unintended offence this has caused.’

    Dr Abramovich has since accepted Hutchinson’s apology.

    In late November, Sheezel became the first Jewish player drafted since Ezra Poyas in 1999.

    The achievement was soured by a myriad of keyboard warriors flooding The Age’s Facebook post with a string of anti-Semitic comments.

    The post has since been removed, but not before prominent Jewish author Alex Ryvchin could draw attention to some of the racist remarks on Twitter.

    ‘A Jew actually doing physical exercise? Fake news’, one wrote.

    Another repulsive comment asked whether the rising star had enough ‘gas in the tank’ in reference to the horrors experienced by the six million Jewish people murdered by Adolf Hitler in World War II.

    Sheezel attended the prestigious Mount Scopus Memorial College, one of the world’s top Jewish day schools, where he learnt to speak Hebrew.

    Before playing in the top-flight junior NAB League, he played his junior footy with Jewish club Ajax.

    ‘You get these kids that you’ve just never seen come up to you and are like, ‘Oh, ‘you’re Harry Sheezel,’ I go to Scopus as well. You see these kids, they look at me how I used to look at Lance Franklin.

    ‘And it’s just like, wow, like, I can be such a positive role model and an influence to these kids,’ the gun youngster told Code Sports recently.

    ‘It is sometimes a bit of pressure, like if you don’t perform, am I letting them down?

    Only a handful of Jewish players have played in the AFL, with 1966 Saints premiership player Ian Synman the pick of the bunch after a stellar 154-game career.

    Poyas was the most recent, playing for Richmond in the 2001 preliminary final, with just eight Jewish players believed to have played at the highest level.

    There will be one more to join those ranks now – and Sheezel may be the pick of the bunch.

    The 186cm medium forward was brilliant alongside the much-hyped Will Ashcroft at Sandringham, kicking 36 goals from 14 matches as the side took out the NAB League premiership earlier this year.

    His crucial four goals in that grand final against Dandenong in September cemented his spot as a top-10 draft pick – and now he has the chance to forge a career in the AFL.

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Sport Parramatta Eels grand final legend Paul Taylor was left homeless and begging on the street