RIP Taylor remembers first rolling into Newcastle with a "Holden station wagon, a missus, a kid and a surfboard".
He'd signed for Souths and played half a season before breaking his leg, prompting a move home to Bellingen and eventually leading to the first of multiple premierships claimed across the state.
"They [Souths] took me up and showed me a little house back from the cliff. There was a granny flat behind it and the surf was pumping. 'If you sign today this is where you live'," Taylor told the Newcastle Herald.
"I had a HD Holden station wagon, a missus, a kid and a surfboard."
Around four decades on and the renowned coach returns to the Newcastle Rugby League ranks but for a different kind of challenge.
The new Bulldogs mentor, contracted until the end of 2026, joins a club who didn't win a single game in this year's first-grade competition.
Discussions with existing players, Kurri juniors and prospective recruits are already in motion but, regardless of who ends up putting pen to paper, Taylor's already settled on a theme.
"Anyone who comes to Kurri next season will know they've had a game of footy," he said.
"Try and put bite back into the dog. Shaun [Collingwood] and the committee didn't pretty it up, they said it would be a tough gig."
Taylor has wasted little time assembling staff, including sprint trainer Bruce Gulliver, with pre-season sessions scheduled to start on November 14.
"I've got Bruce Gulliver on board as my conditioner. He's a bit of a local legend and I worked with him for two or three years at the Roosters. He's very good at his job," Taylor said.
"We'll be fit. Whatever we lack in talent I suppose, we'll take up in toughness and fitness. I've told that to all the young fellas, bring your attitude and away we go."
Taylor enjoyed success at fellow Newcastle RL outfit Lakes, captain-coaching back-to-back titles as part of a hat-trick (1985-1987) and mentoring another three straight grand finals (2000-2002), but he holds distinct memories about visiting Kurri.
"Back pre Knights, Kurri games would be on a Saturday and were quite often a TV game. Around 230 [pm] you would hear a noise down the street, all the boys coming from the local pubs. You run out to a massive noise, blokes bagging you and stuff like that," he said.
Taylor previously spent time in NSW Cup, featuring trophies for Parramatta/Wentworthville (2007, 2008) and GF appearances with Wyong (2015, 2017), as well as Jersey Flegg, including a decider at the Knights (2006).
Now based back at Norah Head, he was most recently connected with Coffs Harbour club the Comets.
The last Newcastle RL win recorded by Kurri, who have collected consecutive wooden spoons, was against Wyong (12-10) at home on May 28, 2022.
"First and foremost we'll try and look after locals, then have a look at what we've got and see who we can bring in," he said.
Port Stephens product Lilly-Ann White will be heading to Papua New Guinea later this month after being called up to the Aussie Schoolgirls squad.
The talented teenager, who attends Hunter River High School and plays seniors for Raymond Terrace, donned a Knights uniform and presented medals for NSW CHS finals held at Cessnock earlier this week.
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