FOR someone who came to the fore in Hull KR colours and won a Super League and Challenge Cup double with Wigan Warriors, Scott Taylor does not mind admitting his heart has always been at Hull FC.
Now 24, the rangy prop finally gets to play for his boyhood heroes in 2016.
Having starred in a struggling Salford Red Devils side this year while on a season-long loan from Wigan, he is one of Lee Radford’s key recruits ahead of the new season and freely concedes the prospect thrills him.
“Deep down, obviously I’ve always been a Hull fan growing up and all my family have been Hull,” said Taylor.
“I’ve always had a soft spot for them and would always be checking out the results when Hull were playing
“Wherever I’ve been I feel like I’ve given 100 per cent; I’m a professional at the end of the day and give everything for whoever I play for. But doing it with your home-town club is obviously an unbelievable feeling and I can’t wait for that first game against Salford.”
Ironically enough, his former club are the visitors to KC Stadium in Taylor’s first scheduled Super League game for the Airlie Birds on February 5 although he admits at one point fearing his dream move might not materialise.
Radford had wanted him last season but that move was thwarted when Wigan activated the final year of his contract – and duly sent him on loan to Salford.
“There was always a point (it might not occur) as at the end of the day they might not have wanted me,” explained Taylor, who was bought by Wigan from Hull KR for around £100,000 at the end of 2012.
“The first day I was available and legally I was allowed to speak to them, I spoke to Radders and Adam Pearson straight away and my mind was made up instantly.
“Just to know that I was wanted by him and the ambition they have for the club is the same I have as a player.
“Obviously, I won things with Wigan and want to win more things – I know how good it feels – and to do that with my home-town club would be unbelievable.
“There’s nothing I want more than coming here and having success and they felt the same way so it was an easy decision for me in the end.”
Taylor, who won the double with Wigan during his debut campaign there in 2013, concedes he was shocked by the way his career at the DW Stadium petered out after it was made known he wanted to eventually return home to East Yorkshire.
“A lot of stuff went on behind the scenes there – things I’m not willing to go into,” he added.
“But I loved my time there and still have a good relationship with (Wigan head coach) Shaun Wane.
“He rang me up recently and asked me how I was going here.
“I’ve got a lot of friends for life from Wigan and it was gutting to leave in that manner given I think I played more games than any other forward all season in that second year up to the (2014) play-offs but then got dropped for those and the Grand Final.
“We lost at Old Trafford and I do feel like I should have been in that Grand Final.
“I might have had two Grand Finals to my name... I don’t know. But I can’t look back. It is what it is and I’m here now and that’s all that matters.”
Hull, of course, are renowned for promising so much and not delivering but Taylor – who essentially replaces Mickey Paea, the rugged Tongan prop who will play for Newcastle Knights in 2016 – fully envisages winning silverware during his four-year contract.
“The problem Hull have had in the past maybe is that they have not had the right balance of players and not everyone is on the same level,” he said, expressing his “understanding” of why the club who finished eighth in 2015 is perceived the way it is.
“But, arguably, this is the first year Radders has had the full squad to pick himself and had the full cap to play with as when he came in (in late 2013) there were a lot of signings he hadn’t made and weren’t his.
“The people brought in now like Frank (Pritchard), Mahe (Fonua), myself and Danny Washbrook, are true professionals, people who give 100 per cent and have the right attitude.
“You have to come in day in, day out – especially in pre-season when it’s so important to be positive – and give everything you’ve got every time you go out on that pitch or get in the gym and have no-one slacking.
“The people who are still here just bring that on as well; the senior sort of players like Gaz Ellis, Mark Minichiello as well as these additions.
“I think we’re really building a culture and nothing in my eyes but top-four will be acceptable this year.”
Taylor, meanwhile, played for England against the Exiles in 2012 when only 21.
He did not build on that experience, perhaps not surprisingly given the calibre of front-rows available to national coach Steve McNamara, but will hope to do so while at KC Stadium and says he played “arguably the best rugby of my career” at Salford this year.