Simply completing an NRL game against Melbourne has been a challenge for Gold Coast halfback Ash Taylor.
However, the 20-year-old is suddenly backing himself to go the distance against Storm idol Cooper Cronk after outpointing NSW halfback Trent Hodkinson in his first match in Gold Coast colours.
Former Brisbane junior Taylor lasted just 29 minutes on his NRL debut for the Broncos against Melbourne last September due to a horrific hand injury.
Six months later, he’s fully recovered and desperate for another crack at Cronk and Co on Sunday, this time in a Titans jumper.
Taylor showed experience beyond his years on Sunday night, setting up two tries and almost scoring another in Gold Coast’s 30-12 season opening home win over Newcastle.
Now the Toowoomba native has his hero Cronk in his sights.
“Every halfback idolises him and wants to be him,” Taylor said.
“I am just trying to play my game, hopefully it comes off.”
Taylor claimed he wouldn’t have to exorcise any demons lining up against Melbourne again after suffering a compound fracture and dislocated finger when his hand was caught in an awkward position tackling Tohu Harris in what proved to be his one and only appearance for Wayne Bennett’s Broncos.
But the youngster hinted that the Titans’ first-round win over Newcastle had healed those wounds.
“I got a lot of confidence with my fingers (against Newcastle),” he said.
“In my first game back I wanted to blow the cobwebs off with (halves partner) Tyrone (Roberts).”