Rookie to fill DCE’s Titans void

A 20-year-old Brisbane discard with no NRL experience looks set to be the man to fill Daly Cherry-Evans’s boots at Gold Coast.

The Titans confirmed on Wednesday that they had signed Ashley Taylor on a two-year deal, with the Junior Kangaroos representative expected to pair with another youngster in Kane Elgey for the club’s halves.

Taylor was the latest player pursued by the Titans following Cherry-Evans’s controversial decision to back out of a multi-million dollar four-year contract with the club.

The Queensland and Australia star’s decision to renege on his deal in favour of a “lifetime” contract with current club Manly had left the Titans scrambling for a replacement.

Canterbury star Trent Hodkinson opted to take up a contract with Newcastle instead of the Titans.

Warriors five-eighth Chad Townsend was another linked to the Titans but he’ll be heading to Cronulla in 2016.

It means Taylor and first-year player Elgey are set to form one of the youngest NRL halves pairings next season, but coach Neil Henry is confident the pair have what it takes to succeed.

“(Broncos coach) Wayne Bennett saying he is ready for the NRL is a pretty fair recommendation,” Henry said of Taylor.

“He has a good kicking game, excellent speed and genuine footy instincts and maturity – similar to Kane who has developed quickly since being brought into our side in round four.

“Both are young Queenslanders who have bright careers ahead of them.”

The Titans also confirmed New Zealand international backrower Zeb Taia would be joining the club on a two-year deal.

The former Parramatta and Newcastle player has spent three years in the Super League with Catalans Dragons but has been granted an early release with Dave Taylor heading in the opposite direction to join the French club.

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