Sometimes you just know. You know when you see a player who is a little bit special. They run harder, run faster and always give that little extra effort for their team mates.
You could see from the moment they ran out for their first grade debut that both Taylan May and Izack Tago were special talents.
Taylan made his debut for Penrith in round 21 of the 2021 NRL season against the Sydney Roosters. From his first carry he made an impact and showed that he would be hard to stop.
Now after only four rounds and three appearances in the top grade he has already struck up a wonderful combination with his centre partner and good friend Izack Tago.
May currently sits at number two on the NRL tryscorers list with five ‘meat pies’ to his name.
Tago on the other hand made six first grade appearances for Penrith last year, most of those in the second row.
The coaching staff knew they had something special with Tago and that his dynamic running and unique skillset would best suit him in the centres.
He trained the whole off season in the position and after only four rounds it’s already his to lose.
At the end of the day though, it’s not just how many tries you score or tackles you do that makes you truly special.
It’s also about those one-percenters, the ball that you fall on when the opposition drops it. That chase you make when you’re up 40-0 with one minute to go.
Both May and Tago have those intangible qualities and more.
The great tennis player Andre Agassi once said, “What makes something special is not just what you have to gain, but what you feel there is to lose.”
These two boys have been given a wonderful opportunity and they know that at Penrith, they are wanted and the mateship they have built up not only with each other but with the entire squad, would be a lot to lose.
It won’t take long for rival clubs to start lining up with cheque books in hand ready to pounce on both Taylan May, who is off contract at the end of the season and Izack Tago, who will be able to field offers from November 1.
Chief Executive Officer of the Penrith District Rugby League Football Club Matt Cameron knows this and when asked whether the club was in the process of re-signing both May and Tago to longer contracts, he said: “It is always a priority to sign our best young talent and keep them at the Panthers for as long as we can.”
And while he could not go into specific details about where discussions with the two players were up to, one gets the feeling if the club has their way, neither May or Tago will be leaving the Panthers anytime soon.
Enjoy the footy this weekend. Go the Panthers!
Peter Lang is an experienced writer, who has been covering rugby league for several decades.