Gold Coast playmaker Ash Taylor is faced with one of the toughest assignments in the NRL but there’s no place he’d rather be despite Brisbane’s efforts to lure him home.
Taylor and fellow young gun Kane Elgey will be asked to steer around Neil Henry’s side in 2017 despite having less than 40 first grade games between them.
Taylor, 21, has been earmarked for big things, leading to his selection in the Indigenous All Stars team alongside the likes of Johnathan Thurston and Greg Inglis.
Henry has chosen to rebuild the club around two former Dally M under-20s player of the year recipients.
But with Elgey (16 games) and Taylor (23 games) still boasting rookie status, they face a steep learning curve.
“Me and Kane this year, we’re going to have to dig in,” Taylor says.
“We’re very inexperienced halves and we’re just looking forward to the challenge. Kane missed all last year through injury and this my second year.”
Last September Taylor signed a one-year extension with the Titans until the end of 2018, scuppering the Broncos’ hopes of bringing him back to up the M1.
The Broncos are on the lookout for a new No.7 next year with Ben Hunt to depart for St George Illawarra and were linked with a plan to coax Taylor back to Red Hill.
Taylor played one game for the Broncos in 2015 before he was granted an early release from his contract because of the limited opportunities he would have received behind Hunt and Anthony Milford.
Despite being a product of the Broncos system, he says it’s the Titans who he owes a debt of gratitude to.
“I was contracted to the Titans when I re-signed and there wasn’t any thought about going elsewhere,” Taylor said.
“I love the club, they’ve given me an opportunity.
“We are building there, we scraped into the finals last year and the boys took a lot of confidence out of that.”
Taylor is coming off off-season groin surgery, with the All Stars game providing his first opportunity to test out his fitness.
He is spending the week learning off arguably the game’s greatest ever playmaker in Thurston.
He said the four-time Dally M medal winner was sure to rub off on him and he was trying to soak up his much as he could during the limited preparation.