He’s the leading contender for the Dally M rookie of the year but Gold Coast playmaker Ash Taylor admits he’ll spend the rest of the NRL season playing for his short term future.
Taylor returned from a groin injury to guide the Titans to a 32-12 win over St George Illawarra at Jubilee Oval on Friday night that has them looking like finals contenders.
The 21-year-old halfback was among his side’s best and worked in tandem with Tyrone Roberts to put the Dragons to the sword and jump into the eight.
Roberts had arguably his best game of the year, setting up two tries and kicking for over 500 metres in an impressive display that highlighted his potential.
Roberts’ short kicking game was a big reason for Neil Henry’s side’s ability to build pressure and underscored the selection headache that awaits the coach next year.
With Kane Elgey sitting out 2016 with a ruptured ACL, Henry will have to find a way to fit all three into his side next year.
Elgey’s long-term injury opened the door for Taylor to earn his debut and he has grabbed the opportunity with both hands.
While Taylor would have ordinarily done enough in his rookie season to be comfortable with his job security, he admits his spot in the starting side next year is far from assured.
“You’re playing for your spot week in and week out,” Taylor said.
“It was unfortunate what happened to Kane. I want to play the best I can and the best for the team.
“If Kingy (Henry) goes for different options, I’m just going to put my best foot forward at training and train my backside off to be the best player I can be.”
Henry heaped praise on Taylor for his ability to guide the side into finals contention, saying he should be considered the leading contender for Dally M rookie of the year.
“Given that we thought he might have debuted and played a couple of games,” Henry said.
“It’s been a bit like Kane Elgey last year – we had some injuries in the halves and round four he started playing and he had a great season for his first year.
“Ash has just stepped up. We didn’t think he’d take on the responsibilities so quickly.”