The rugby league world has expressed disbelief over the story of Parramatta Eels premiership hero Paul Taylor and how he turned his life around after being left homeless.
The Daily Telegraph revealed on Wednesday that Taylor turned to begging and sleeping on the streets in Brisbane after he was left without anywhere to live.
The 63-year-old Taylor played in five grand finals with Parramatta in the 1980s (winning three) - including in the club's most recent premiership victory in 1986.
However his life spiralled out of control after retirement to the extent that he was living off $1 hash browns from McDonalds and living in public parks.
Taylor's spiral started when he lost his job in Sydney in 1990 and moved to Brisbane to be closer to his son.
“It was s*** what happened and I never expected it. You sit in the park nearly all day. I probably wore the same clothes for a whole week," Taylor told Daily Telegraph journalist Dean Ritchie.
Parramatta legend and former teammate Peter Wynn had previously posted a photo alongside Taylor on Facebook.
Thankfully for Taylor he was able to turn his life around and now has his own landscaping business on the Gold Coast.
“It’s a lovely end to a very sad era in Paul Taylor’s life,” Ritchie said on Sky Sports radio on Wednesday.
“Paul’s revealed today how his finances and private life spiralled.
"And he moved to Queensland to be closer to his son Jamie and his life unravelled and he became homeless.”
Laurie Daley shocked by news about Paul Taylor
Canberra Raiders legend Laurie Daley was stunned by the news.
“It’s a sad story," Daley said. "You just feel helpless that you weren’t able to know what was happening in his life.
"And I’m sure a lot his former Parramatta teammates who played with him didn’t know what was happening.
"It seems like now he’s got himself up and about and he’s got himself going again.”
Taylor played 157 games for Parramatta from 1981 to 1989, as well as three games for the Penrith Panthers in 1990.
"I always thought I was under par in talent compared to the other blokes but I had endurance," Taylor said in 2012 about the star-studded Eels teams he played on.
"So I had to work out how to fit in once I got in there, and that meant looking at the speed and ability of the side and working out what I could bring to the table.
"I just tried to be the fittest bloke at the club, and in the end it worked out well."
He also played 42 games across two stints with Oldham in the UK, as well as one game for Wakefield Trinity.
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