A legend who played in three grand finals for Parramatta says that when he was homeless, he ate $1 McDonald’s hash browns and stole teabags to stay alive.
Paul Taylor, a former star player for the Parramatta Eels, said that he went through hell when he was homeless after he retired and had to eat McDonald’s hash browns while he begged for money.
The former fullback, now 63, won four premierships with the team in the 1980s. He was a favorite of the legendary Eels coach Jack Gibson and played with stars like Peter Sterling, Brett Kenny, Mick Cronin, and Ray Price.
But after 10 years, Taylor’s glory days were over for good. He was broke and living on the streets.
“I used to own two homes. Taylor said, “I had a four-acre property in Matcham, on the Central Coast of NSW, and another place in Umina.”
“I also broke up with my wife, but it wasn’t her fault. It was just how things turned out.
Taylor’s life started to fall apart when he moved to Queensland to be closer to his son Jamie.
Victory laps at the SCG with his Eels teammates were a distant memory because he had to live on $1 McDonald’s hash browns and stolen teabags.
Taylor also slept in parks around the central business district of Brisbane, from the Botanic Gardens to the Story Bridge. He begged for money and wore the same clothes for up to a week at a time.
Taylor’s worst time in life lasted about 18 months and happened about 15 years ago, but he doesn’t know the exact dates.
He told the Daily Telegraph, “One day you’re playing in front of 50,000 people, and the next you’re sitting in a park with two homeless people.”
“It makes you stronger. It was about being alive.’
Taylor’s life turned around in the end, and he got a job near Uluru in the Northern Territory.
While working at Longitude 131, a luxury resort near the famous rock, he had three jobs and made $3000 a week.
He now runs a landscaping business on the Gold Coast and lives on the water at Main Beach.
He also told Parramatta, who will play Penrith in the grand final this Sunday, to fight for everything.
“You might not get another chance,” he said. “Change what you’re doing if what you’re doing isn’t working.
“I would still be in the park if I didn’t fight.”