Ash Taylor’s form will be key to the Titans’ resurgence in 2020. Picture: Jerad Williams
Ash Taylor’s form will be key to the Titans’ resurgence in 2020. Picture: Jerad Williams

Holbrook begins mission to rebuild Taylor’s career

TITANS coach Justin Holbrook has insisted he will do all he can to rebuild the career of the Gold Coast's $3 million man, Ash Taylor.

Holbrook has been impressed by Taylor's  training application and attitude in the early part of the pre-season as the talented No.7 looks to rebound from the toughest year of his career.

Taylor's 2019 season unravelled on the back of injury, poor form and personal problems limiting him to only 10 NRL games in the first year of a $1 million-a-season contract.

The 24-year-old made only one NRL appearance after round 12 and spent time with Tweed Heads in the Intrust Super Cup before the Titans collected the wooden spoon and coach Garth Brennan was sacked.

Taylor's future at the Titans came under scrutiny post-season after club culture boss Mal Meninga revealed he would be open to a player swap with a rival club if that was what Taylor needed to become an NRL force.

That appears unlikely and one of Holbrook's biggest tasks in his first season at the Titans will be extracting as much as he can from the Gold Coast's highest-paid player.

Justin Holbrook is ready to help rebuild the playmaker. Picture: Adam Head
Justin Holbrook is ready to help rebuild the playmaker. Picture: Adam Head

Holbrook, who won this year's Super League premiership with St Helens, said he was prepared to give Taylor every opportunity to prove he can be a dominant player.

"That's my job - to help him," Holbrook told The Courier-Mail.

"We know he's had a number of different issues but it's a fresh start. Let's go and crack on. He's fine with that and a part of it.

"He's one of our better players and if we can get him firing it's only going to be a good thing.

"He is committed to playing here so that's great. He is in a good frame of mind, that's all I can judge him on.

Holbrook has confirmed Taylor and Tyrone Roberts are his intended halves combination. Picture: Dave Hunt
Holbrook has confirmed Taylor and Tyrone Roberts are his intended halves combination. Picture: Dave Hunt

"From my point of view nothing has changed. It's about getting him to play at his best and that's my job as a coach. We know if we can do that, as a side we're only going to be better for that.

"It's about me helping him get there and if he does great. That's all I'll worry about.

"He's no different to any other player we've got here. He's training like everyone else and hopefully we can have a good season."

The Titans have invested heavily in Taylor, who has played 79 of his 80 NRL games for the Gold Coast since leaving Brisbane after making his debut in 2015.

Holbrook has declared Taylor and Tyrone Roberts will be his first-choice halves pairing in 2020, with youngsters Tanah Boyd and Toby Sexton the back-up options.

Roberts and Taylor are best friends away from footy and the five-eighth said his playmaking partner was showing positive signs on the training paddock.

"He looks good, he is in good shape," Roberts said.

"He is training well and running well and in control of stuff on and off the field at the moment. He's in a good space.

"Last year was hard for everyone. We have a lot of young kids and didn't go well, so they got thrown in the deep end.

"Ash was copping it on the field. I don't have social media but you can feel it when someone is down like that.

"Everyone feels it ... but he is in a good head space at the moment."