http://www.news.com.au/dailytelegrap...006066,00.html Stolen Rothmans Medal returned to Souths coach Taylor By Nick Walshaw November 09, 2007 12:00am A RELIEVED Jason Taylor has promised to give his beloved Rothmans medal "a good wipe" after it was returned this week in a bizarre swirl of booze, bets and blackmail. The Daily Telegraph can reveal Taylor has been reunited with his gong exactly 22 days after it was stolen in a break and enter at his Northbridge home. And it seems not since Laurie Daley dropped the Winfield Cup from a moving car way back in 1989 has a sports trophy copped such a hammering. This, after all, is the rescue yarn that involved Mark "Piggy" Riddell, Kings Cross nightclubs, blackmail threats, six Parramatta Eels and a boozy Melbourne Cup party. "And that's why I haven't said anything to anyone, other than what I'm telling you right now," Taylor laughs. "Because until it was in my hands . . . mate, I never really believed I was getting it back." Taylor says the saga started after an emotional plea in this newspaper three weeks ago sparked a midnight phone call from Riddell, holidaying in Thailand. "Now I'm fairly used to Piggy's late-night calls," Taylor smiles. "Because when I was coaching Parramatta he'd ring at all hours . . . just letting me know he was walking out of a nightclub and heading home." But this time the Pig left three messages. Each one the same. Call me urgently. "So," shrugs Taylor, "I knew something was going down." Riddell, it turns out, had a mate who had read the article, knew the whereabouts of the medal and wanted it returned. "Being in Thailand I had no idea about what was going on," Riddell explains. "But my mate could get it back and that's all that concerned me." But first Riddell had to finish his holiday. Then he was off to the Sunshine Coast for coaching clinics. JT started worrying, thinking it was all going to be called off. And then came Melbourne Cup day. Riddell was watching the great race over a few schooners in Surry Hills when his mate suddenly appeared with the medal. Uh oh. What happened next is a little hazy, however rumours suggest by midnight the gong had spent time around the necks of Riddell, Brett Finch and Tim Smith. Down the pants of another Eel too. "I was trying to send photos of the medal from my mobile phone," Riddell laughs. "Thought that might help me get some cash out of JT." Then the party moved into Kings Cross and the blackmail calls started. At one point Riddell was tapping the gong against his mobile phone saying: "C'mon Taylor . . . tink, tink, tink . . . you know you want this Taylor . . . tink, tink, tink." "I don't want to know where the medal was before Tuesday," Taylor says simply, "and I really don't want to know where it's been since." So finally on Wednesday, the great Rothmans medal saga ended when Taylor and Riddell met at the Allawah Hotel. The medallion exchanged. The coach relieved. His piece of history now ready to be passed on when wife Lana gives birth to their first child in three weeks. "I've just been amazed how concerned so many people have been," Taylor says, clutching his beloved prize. "I mean, people have been stopping me in the street to say they felt my disappointment, hoped I got it back. "So now the medal is going away. Obviously I'll pass it down through the generations but, yeah . . . it's had enough fun for a while."