Where are they now? Brian Taylor
- Thursday, 28 June 2012
By Ron Head
Brian was the younger of the Taylor brothers, beginning his league career in 1979.
Mirroring brother Neil’s achievements of captaining Subiaco, winning a fairest and best award, and becoming a double centurion, he was also a Simpson Medallist and a State player.
Brian Taylor played his two hundredth game twenty years ago, and was the last Subiaco player to achieve the milestone before Chad Cossom reached the double century recently.
Playing most of his junior football at Woodlands, before his family moved to the country, he played in the Merredin senior side at seventeen. Subiaco were well aware that the mid western town was in West Perth’s zone, so he found himself on the colts team list while still at Merredin. A Claremont supporter, Taylor was happy to join brother Neil at the Lions.
Lining up with the colts in 1978, he progressed to reserves the following year, playing as a rover, and made his league debut late that season, in the same position. Taylor was in good form as an onballer in the ensuing three seasons, becoming a prolific ballgetter, in a team consistently near the bottom of the ladder, and his second to co rover Alex Hamilton in 1982 fairest and best voting underlined his value to the side.
A groin injury suffered during pre season in 1983 was a huge blow to Brian Taylor, causing him to miss a season, with the repercussions in 1984 resulting in the first form lapse of his career. But the dark cloud had a silver lining. Midway through the year, coach Haydn Bunton switched him to a back pocket, and it was a masterstroke. The slightly built rover became a dashing defender. â€œI enjoyed the move,â€ Brian said. â€œBeing a rover myself, I was now playing on other rovers, and knowing a rover’s game, I was able to read their moves.â€
Subiaco crushed their way back into premiership calculations in 1985, eventually losing to a strong East Fremantle by five points in the grand final, but it was despite the efforts of Taylor, whose display as a back pocket specialist in a losing side earned him a Simpson Medal. â€œI didn’t realise I’d won it, they didn’t have both sides stay out on the ground in those days, and someone came running into the rooms as I was getting changed, advising me to get out there and collect it.â€
Playing in a West Australian side that overcame South Australia by forty one points, Taylor had another great year in 1986, a recurrence of the groin injury possibly costing him a Sandover Medal. â€œI missed the last two games of the season,â€ he recalled. â€œI was in front by two votes with those matches votes to count, and Mark Bairstow got three in the last one to tip me out.â€ It was the same story in the Subiaco award, with Laurie Keene relegating him to second place.
Subiaco got revenge over East Fremantle in a 69 point win that year, and the Sandover misfortune was quickly forgotten, with brother Neil a premiership captain.
Runners up to Claremont in 1987, history was to repeat itself the following season, when Subiaco avenged another grand final loss, a fourth consecutive grand final appearance yielding a further flag, in a year that Brian Taylor won a well deserved fairest and best award at the Lions. He captained Subiaco in 1990-91.
During the 1991 season, the thirty year old Taylor, who had never suffered from bouts of unconsciousness over a thirteen season league career, was knocked out on three occasions, and retired at the end of the season, after wearing the Maroon guernsey two hundred and eleven times.
Appointed captain coach of North Beach Amateurs in 1992, Brian guided them to three grand final appearances in as many years, with one flag, before hanging up the boots and coaching juniors. In 2009 he was assistant coach to Jarrod Schofield with the Subiaco colts, but says that’s enough.
His two boys played colts for Subiaco, with only Alex still remaining, progressing to the reserves, but shin splints ruined his season in 2010.
Brian gives kudos to Claremont and North Melbourne rover Jimmy Krakoeur as hardest to beat, and sings the praises of Peter Featherby and Dwayne Lamb as teammates.
The man who wasn’t short of individual achievements during his career counts the mateship he enjoyed as a highlight of his time with the Lions, not to mention the players trips, times that he now happily relives at reunions and get togethers with team mates. He is still teaching at Methodist Ladies College, runs to keep fit, and is enjoying life with wife Sue, regularly to be seen at the Lions matches.
Brothers who have served Subiaco well include the Williams’s, Kettlewells, Parkers, Dailys, Kemps, Deans, and Burtons. The Taylors, with 471 appearances, three fairest and bests, four premierships, a Sandover Medal runner up, and a Simpson Medal between them, can be justifiably proud of the service they gave, and are favourite sons with both the club and its supporters.