Birthday boy Taylor gets his wish as young Titans win big

Laine Clark Roar Guru

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    No prizes for guessing what birthday boy Ash Taylor wished for before running out in the Gold Coast Titans’ NRL clash with Parramatta.

    Still, what happened next must have exceeded even Taylor’s wildest dreams.

    Taylor celebrated turning 22 with a dominant display as injury-ravaged Gold Coast caused a 26-14 boilover against the Eels.

    Asked to rate the win amongt his career achievements, Taylor said: “It’s up there.

    “For us to get our first win of the season and for it to be on my birthday – it’s pretty special.”

    The Titans fielded the most inexperienced team in their history, with 12 of their 30-strong squad either injured or unavailable for the match.

    In another blow, they also had a request to play new recruit Dale Copley knocked back by the NRL.

    And their injury list only got longer when winger William Zillman (calf) lasted just 17 minutes after Parramatta jumped to a 12-0 lead.

    Alarm bells were ringing.

    But Taylor showed the poise – that already has him earmarked by Queensland coach Kevin Walters as the next Maroons No.7 – to spark a remarkable fightback.

    His huge cut out pass helped set up debutant Tyler Cornish’s try that locked up the scores 12-12 at halftime.

    The Titans then scored twice off Taylor kicks in the second stanza to put away the error-riddled Eels.

    Even party poopers, Eels backrowers Tepai Moeroa and Manu Ma’u, couldn’t dampen Taylor’s celebrations with a couple of late hits after kicks.

    While there is Origin hype surrounding Taylor he baulked at the notion.

    “I am not going to say I am the next best Queensland halfback,” Taylor said.

    “That (Origin) is a goal but there are plenty of other great halfbacks out there – Moses Mbye and Ben Hunt had a great game the other night.”

    But Titans coach Neil Henry had no problem talking up Taylor after the stirring win.

    “I thought Ash Taylor’s kicking game was fantastic,” Henry said.

    “He will have a crack at the 40-20, he put the ball to the sideline when we needed to walk to a scrum.

    “His game management is getting there as a young player and we needed him to make those plays.”

    Konrad Hurrell and Ryan Simpkins had concussion tests, forcing a reshuffled line-up that at one stage featured backrowers Chris McQueen and Kevin Proctor in the centres and prop Jarrod Wallace at hooker.

    Utility Tyrone Roberts will monitor a hamstring niggle after juggling hooker in attack and fullback in defence for the second straight week.

    Gold Coast also blooded young forward Max King on Friday – their fifth debutant in three rounds.

    “We had every reason to shut up shop 12-0 down early in the game – it’s a testament to how they hung in there,” Henry said.

    If you could choose from any and every NRL player in the competition, who would you pick in your rugby league dream team? Let us know with our team picker right here, and be sure to share it with all your league-loving mates.

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    The Crowd Says (10)

    • Roar Guru

      March 18th 2017 @ 7:58am
      M.O.C. said | March 18th 2017 @ 7:58am | ! Report

      Well done Titans, showing some real desperation for the last 60 minutes. Parra WTF? A collective brain explosion. If they kept playing tight they would have won by 50 but got lured into the very loose Titans style of survival play and couldn’t keep up.

      Felt sorry for Ash Taylor – won’t be long before the cheap-shot merchants injure a small kicker like him. It’s just a free shot to try to injure the kicker, even a blatant shoulder charge on him and only a penalty despite the probability of a suspension. There’s one thing to pressure a kicker but to attempt to injure is something else. No wonder Ryan James was getting angry.

    • March 18th 2017 @ 8:38am
      kk said | March 18th 2017 @ 8:38am | ! Report

      Ashley Taylor is contracted to the end of next season. He appears to be the complete package
      and will probably be a millionaire at next signing. Being a Queenslander he will be tempted to
      stay in the cut – away State and Uncle Lachlan will organise a TPA to choke a goat.

      The match developed into a master exercise for the concussion test and showed that joy
      for the Eels resurgence may be premature. Without Corey Norman they are ordinary.
      The penalties in the main were self inflicted, though Ryan James is no saint.(Ask Teddy)
      Tyrone Roberts is to be congratulated on his dual role performance. Gutsy stuff.

      In summary: Both teams at full strength may occupy a position 5 – 8 on the ladder in September.
      Next week Titans host Cowboys and Eels host Sharks at ANZ. The visitors look best.

    • Roar Rookie

      March 18th 2017 @ 9:12am
      Joe said | March 18th 2017 @ 9:12am | ! Report

      Ash Taylor should be the next QLD halfback. He has the complete game. His game management and kicking game is miles ahead of Hunt and Mybe. Strong defender, great long pass and vision.

      • March 18th 2017 @ 11:54am
        ask said | March 18th 2017 @ 11:54am | ! Report

        Agree Joe, for one Mbye is not a halfback and as such his game management is almost not existent and Hunt while has shown he does have the skills and game management, he doesn’t put them on display together nearly often enough for a club side let alone for Origin.

      • March 18th 2017 @ 3:09pm
        Alex L said | March 18th 2017 @ 3:09pm | ! Report

        Lets see him run out an NRL finals match without physically breaking down before we christen him the next coming of Cronk.

      • March 18th 2017 @ 5:20pm
        Rob said | March 18th 2017 @ 5:20pm | ! Report

        Taylor has a lot going for him. Milford is a long way from playing Origin.

    • Roar Rookie

      March 18th 2017 @ 9:41am
      steveng said | March 18th 2017 @ 9:41am | ! Report

      The Titans were lucky, everything went their way and some of the refereeing decisions were well…???…as usual.

    • March 18th 2017 @ 9:58am
      Albo said | March 18th 2017 @ 9:58am | ! Report

      Once again it was shown that as long as you have a good game manager out on the field it really doesn’t matter who else makes up the numbers in the team. We have seen it for years at the Storm and Cowboys, and last night Ash Taylor demonstrated it expertly for such a young leader, wrangling his bits and pieces team to a great and gutsy win. On the other hand we saw the high flying Eels missing their on field manager only ( Norman) and they had no idea how to combat the team of hobbling bitsas despite being virtually at full strength and having many experienced players in their ranks.

    • Roar Guru

      March 18th 2017 @ 11:10am
      The Barry said | March 18th 2017 @ 11:10am | ! Report

      Taylor is an absolute gun. The massive double cutout pass to Elgey just before half time was top shelf. Elgey threw a good pass too for that try.

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