Titans rookie Ashley Taylor says he is headed for off-season groin surgery armed with the knowledge of what it takes both physically and mentally to play a full season in the NRL.
Taylor's outstanding rookie season came to an end 34 minutes into the first half of Gold Coast's 44-28 elimination final loss to Brisbane on Friday night with his 21-year-old body copping one final heavy knock that he simply couldn't recover from.
Knocked heavily to the ground in a legal challenge from Broncos hooker Andrew McCullough after he kicked downfield, Taylor suffered a painful hip pointer injury similar to the one suffered on the same ground by fellow rookie Latrell Mitchell a week earlier.
He went into the dressing sheds and was given a needle to try and eliminate the pain but it was unable to free the joint sufficiently and he was forced to watch the second half from the sidelines.
The popular pick for Dally M Rookie of the Year, Taylor is expecting to have surgery as soon as next week but says he will back in time for the start of pre-season training and ready to take forward the tough lessons of 2016.
"You have to be mentally tough and physically tough to get through the game and make sure your body is close to 100 per cent each week," Taylor said.
"That's the massive thing for myself that I've learnt this year, to make sure that I try and get my body right for the weekend.
"This year has been a massive learning curve for me and I know how to prepare myself now for the years to come.
"I'm just looking forward to getting my body right and I know what to expect now."Having been plagued by shoulder injuries coming through the grades, Taylor has been most troubled by groin injuries this season, with Titans coach Neil Henry resting him in a couple of games in order to nurse him through.
Taylor paid tribute to the Titans' medical staff for managing his body through 22 of a possible 25 games this year and for Henry for handing him the first grade opportunity.
"I just tried to get through the season. The physio and the coaching staff looked after me very well with my training regime," said Taylor.
"They've been great for me the Titans and I'm just very grateful to be a part of the team.
"It's been very tough for me to get the needles and stuff to put my body through. It's been a long year for me and I'm just looking forward to fixing them up now and getting them right.
"Very disappointed that I couldn't get back out there with the boys but they put in a massive effort and I'm just so proud of them."
Henry said in the post-match press conference that last year's rookie standout, Kane Elgey, had looked good in a ballwork session midweek as he nears the completion of his recovery from a knee injury that ended his season before it began.
The coach also suggested that Tyrone Roberts may shift to a utility role next season with Taylor and Elgey to form a new scrumbase combination.
Reports surfaced during the week that Taylor and his management are in talks with the Titans in regards to extending his contract beyond the 2017 season, with Taylor hoping a deal can be reached sooner rather than later.
This story first appeared on nrl.com.au