Coach award boosts Taylor

RIP Taylor's hopes of continuing his long involvement in rugby league received a boost last night when he was named NSW Cup coach of the year.

Taylor has steered the Newcastle Knights to within one win of the reserve-grade grand final but will be replaced next year by first-grade assistant coach Rick Stone.

Taylor intends to continue coaching and is open to offers. Last night's award underlines his credentials but his primary focus remains helping the Knights to win a premiership.

"In all honesty, what I enjoy most is helping players get a start in the game," he said.

"If I can give a couple of young fellas an opportunity to further their rugby league careers, that's the icing on the cake for me."

Taylor steered Lakes United to a Newcastle Rugby League premiership in 2002, before winning NSW Cup titles with Parramatta and Wentworthville.

He credited his "great staff" with helping him win last night's award.

"They're all wanting me to give them a rap," he said with a laugh.

Knights centre Siuatonga Likiliki, winger Josh Mantellato and back-rower Marvin Filipo were selected in the NSW Cup team of the year.

It was some consolation for Likiliki, whose season was ended by a final-round knee injury.

The Knights have this weekend off and will play the winner of Sunday's semi-final between Wentworthville Magpies and Balmain Ryde-Eastwood Tigers in the grand final qualifier on September 23.

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