Titans halfback Ashley Taylor knows he must improve his ability to “own the moment” even if this Gold Coast team has shown they can score points without him orchestrating every try.
Taylor was buoyant after completing a full 80-minute performance in Gold Coast’s final 28-22 trial win over Brisbane on Saturday night.
It wasn’t a vintage Taylor performance, the man who once ranked second in the NRL for try assists had no hand in any of the Gold Coast’s five tries, but it was enough to indicate he can discover his former glory.
His quick-thinking to take a tap on a penalty led to the Titans second try of the night before half-time while his vision to throw a cut-out pass for Jonus Pearson would’ve certainly ended in four points if he’d cleared the Broncos winger as he intended.
In years gone by those are the passes that Taylor would stick and it’s given him something to work on before their difficult round-one clash with Canberra on March 15.
“That’s just execution. We’ve worked hard on our catch passing so that is probably my fault, it needed to land on the mark,” Taylor told NRL.com.
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“I am harsh on myself and I need to make them plays, that could cost us a game potentially.
“I need to own the moments and I didn’t own that one. I need to work on that at training.
“I didn’t get one try assist myself tonight so that’s all credit to the boys because they work on that hard, they’ve worked on their mini-skills and catch-passing and our communication.
“It’s just awesome to know the team can score points without me having to assist it.”
Taylor’s return was one of many positives for a Titans team needing some good vibes before round one. After last year’s disastrous season, the club needs a fresh and strong start to 2020 to build momentum for the year ahead.
Clearly the attitude and commitment of the players is back at an NRL standard. There haven’t been too many times in recent years when the Titans have conceded the first three tries of the game and fought their way back into the contest.
But if Saturday’s willingness to grind their way back into the game is any indication of what is to come in 2020, then Titans fans may have brighter skies ahead than they dare to believe.
“You know we were down 16-0 and Titans in the past we probably would’ve got blown off the park so it was good to see the fight from the boys,” Taylor said.
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“As a squad I think we’ve done a good job, we will go back now and look at all the vision and see what we need to work on for round one.
“It’s a tough assignment obviously the grand finalists (Canberra) and they have a great squad but I think we’re more focused on ourselves.
‘We will go back and look at the video and see what we need to work on because as a squad we do react well to when we have those honest conversations.”
The Titans reported no fresh injury concerns from the game and should have almost every player available for selection for round one.
Forward Keegan Hipgrave remains their only player definitely ruled out as a slowly returns from repeat concussions in 2019.
Hipgrave last month received medical clearance to resume contact work at training but must pass more tests with the NRL before he can play a competitive game.