VALENTINE SPORTS PHOTOGRAPHY
Riley Taylor is a man that Northern League One oppositions have learnt they need to shut down if they want any chance of winning. His speed, dribbling and ability to finish mean he’s usually the most dangerous player on the field and he has once again proved that this season having scored half of his New Lambton team’s goals. Correspondent Quentin, chatted to Riley about the process that’s brought him to the Eagles and where he thinks the road may lead.
Where and when did you start your junior career and how did you progress into senior football?
I started my junior career off at Lambton from U6’s. I ended up leaving and eventually made my way back there where I played 23’s and would bench for the first team. I eventually got my 1st Grade debut which unfortunately wasn’t the greatest 20 minutes of my life.
What teams have you played for and when?
I left the Jaffas in 2010 after fracturing my leg the year before which caused me to miss most the year. I went to Broadmeadow Magic and played U11-A where I was initially a left or right back. I continued to play there until U14’s and during this time I managed to transition into a number 9. When I was 15, I went and played for the Macquarie representative team, where I established myself as more of a winger. Since then I joined at Olympic for 16’s and 17’s and then made a move back to Jaffas and spent 2-3 years playing 19’s, 23’s 1st Grade. After being let go, I found my way to New Lambton through a good mate of mine. I’ve playing for New Lambton from the start of last season and came in fairly late – only about 3 weeks before the season kicked off.
What do you like to do in your spare time when you’re not playing football?
What I enjoy outside of football is just relaxing. I don’t get up to too much other than training and games.
What do you do for work? Or are you currently studying?
Currently I’m a 3rd year apprentice. I’m studying refrigeration and air conditioning and have about 4 weeks of TAFE left until I sit my capstone (major exam).
What player has been one of your favourite players to play with and you have admiration for? Why?
Favourite player to play with would definitely be Peps (Nic Pepper) He’s one of my best mates and we just click on the field.
Which player is the hardest to play against? And why?
I don’t know so much about an individual, but as a whole, I’d say West Wallsend is always a tough game as they’re very physical side. They’re the games I always look forward to the most but.
You’ve excelled at New Lambton and been one of the most dangerous players in the competition – does the thought ever occur to you to try your hand at a higher level once again?
Most certainly. I’ve always strived to play at the highest level I can. But in saying that, the NPL is a whole other ball park to Northern League One. I’ve had an opportunity or two arise to go back and play 1st Grade football in the NPL this season, but unfortunately, I had already started my season and I like to finish what I start. But the main reason I didn’t was because of work and studies, I just can’t commit to the massive workload.
You’ve made a name for yourself for being a top goal scorer in the Northern League One, is that something you pride yourself on?
I pride myself on giving it all I’ve got for the whole game. Scoring is just a bonus. I feel a lot more confident in front of goals this year which is a nice change, last season was shambles for me.
Most memorable moment(s) of your career so far?
The career highlight for me would definitely be going undefeated for 18 months from U13’s through to U14’s at Broadmeadow. Not a single game was a loss or draw during that time. Not many teams can achieve that, at any age group for that matter.
Most influential person in your career?
The most influential person would probably be my Dad. Not so much for progressing my game, but just guiding me with decisions on my career and how to be a decent human being. I wouldn’t be here without him.
What are you hoping to achieve for this year’s season?
Well considering where we sit on the table, we aren’t much hope of making finals. So for me it’s just remaining consistent for the rest of the season and then shaping up for next year. Hopefully I can keep Macca (Nathan McCallister) on his toes and fight for that golden boot.
What’s your plans for the future of your career? Where are you hoping to progress?
I’d love to make my way back into the NPL, but I believe I have to develop my game a little more and wait until I can commit to the workload that comes with it. But for now, I’m loving my football at New Lambton. I’m very well looked after as are all the boys and there’s been real positive vibes over the last month. It’s exciting times ahead for the Eagles!