Ash Taylor will have his new inspiration – bouncing nine-week old son Oscar – with him on the paddock all year after forking out to have his baby boy and partner in Perth for his long-awaited return in Titans colours.
Taylor appeared fit and confident, but most importantly happy, at the NRL Nines, his first game for the Gold Coast in seven months after taking personal leave to deal with mental health issues.
The 24-year-old was beaming after the Titans' impressive run to the tournament's semi-finals, and proudly showed off a new mouthguard with the word 'Oscar' written on it that he plans to wear throughout 2020.
In a separate interview with NRL.com Taylor candidly revealed that he would have walked away from rugby league for good if he handed taken time out from the NRL last year.
But the fun and thirst for the game were back in Perth, with Taylor flying his partner Montana and their new bub 4000km across country to ensure they were on hand for his Titans return.
Taylor: I was ready to walk away
Oscar's arrival in December has given the No.7 a new perspective on life and the NRL as he hunts a return to the form that had him in Queensland Origin contention just 18 months ago.
"It was tough, probably the toughest part of my life I've had to deal with so far," Taylor said of his mental health battle.
"Being away from my family, that didn't help as well. So I've got my little young man there now so I just do it for him and my little family and want to just keep it going.
"I have a reason now to play footy and to look after myself in the future. Because I have him to come with me through that so I really want to set myself up and I just want to enjoy myself again.
"He flew over [to Perth], me and my partner brought him over. He's on my mouthguard, little Oscar.
"[Fatherhood] is a massive change and people are really happy for me. I think it's what I needed and I think it's what God sent him down to me for, so I really want to treasure it.
"Time flies when you're having a kid, it's only nine weeks now, I can't believe he's growing up so quick. I want to be there for him and I want to see him all the way through."
Taylor's playing future at the Titans came under the microscope last year as he struggled to cope with the pressures of being a marquee NRL playmaker.
The Gold Coast fielded enquiries from rival clubs, and reluctantly considered whether a release from his big money contract and a fresh start would be in Taylor's best interests.
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But Taylor says he never considered leaving the Titans for a rival outfit, and wants to repay them, new coach Justin Holbrook and his predecessor Garth Brennan for their support during his darkest days.
"I love the club. I've loved it ever since I was a young bloke," he said.
"It had nothing to do with the Titans, it was just me, I needed to sort myself out. Now I'm putting my preparation and everything into the Titans.
"I've really got to give back to them a lot. I'll keep working hard with Justin and the boys to try and get better. Obviously we can't finish any worse than last year so I just want to work hard this year and give it our best shake."
Taylor's one instruction heading into the Nines from Holbrook was simple.
"'Have fun'. So I did."
His own message is just as poignant.
"[The personal leave] was just about getting me back to my happy self and I needed help to do that," Taylor said.
"That's what I want to let everyone know, it's not easy to let everyone know about that.
"It is OK to come out and say 'I've got mental health problems'. That's what I did and hopefully I can inspire those ones that are struggling before anything else happens."