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Brimson return brings 'blueprint' to life

Ash Taylor calls it the "blueprint" the Titans playmakers want to replicate as an expansive backline that backs their skills.

On Sunday, the Titans played tough through the middle and fullback AJ Brimson and halves Taylor and Jamal Fogarty jumped on the back of it to showcase all their craft, flair and speed in a dominant 30-10 win over the Cowboys.

"That is our blueprint. We have been trying to set that blueprint for the last three weeks now," Taylor said.

Brimson agreed it was reminiscent of the Titans at their best a decade ago when Scott Prince, Mat Rogers and Preston Campbell were working well together.

The young fullback, who scored two tries and set one up against the Cowboys to take the Titans to a 20-0 half-time lead, said it was the most enterprising football he could remember the side playing.

Match Highlights: Titans v Cowboys

"We didn't want the half to end," he said.

"It has been a while since we’ve had that complete dominance and it felt good. We are backing our skill and backing ourselves to make those passes out of yardage."

The Titans played it smart with Brimson, bringing him back against the Roosters in Round 12 once his fractured back was fully healed.

For coach Justin Holbrook his presence was a welcome sight against the Cowboys.

"I've said since I got here in November that I rated him the best player in our team so it is great to have him back," Holbrook said.

"He has that top-end speed that is in its own class really. It is just great to see him in full flight and he adds more strike to our side that is for sure."

Titans five-eighth Ashley Taylor.
Titans five-eighth Ashley Taylor. ©Scott Davis/NRL Photos

Fogarty ran for 144 metres against the Cowboys and Taylor for 93m. They linked together nicely. 

"That is the thing we have been working on the most since we came back from the COVID break and really trying to build that combination," Taylor said.

"[Jamal] is very direct and guides the team around the park and controls it with me. It has been good to play with a half for more than three games [in a row], as compared to the last few years here."

Fogarty said Taylor's style suited him.

"He [Taylor] is off the cuff and has that X-factor, so if I can get the ball to him with a bit of time and space you know something is going to happen," Fogarty said.

"Our left edge has been pretty damaging the last couple of weeks and it is off the back of him."

There are aspects of Prince in Fogarty with his dancing feet, game management skills and the danger he presents when he takes the line on.

Kelly carves up the Cowboys to set up Brimson

"[Prince] was very agile, could get across field pretty quick and I think I can do that as well, so I take a little bit from what he did,” Fogarty said.

"Having AJ back, he has just got that raw speed so if you can get the ball to him with a bit of time and space anything can happen.

"He is turning half opportunities into full opportunities so it has been awesome."

Every try from round 13

The back injury that kept Brimson out of the first 11 rounds is a thing of the past.

"My back got an early hit on it so it was a good early tester for it and it felt fine," he said.

"I haven’t worried about my back since I have been back."

Taylor said he felt his groin tweak in the warm-up on Sunday which is why he handed over the goal kicking duties to Fogarty mid-match. He said he expected to be right to play the Sharks on Saturday.

"It is all good, a bit sore today but I am going to work hard with the physios and do everything I can to be on the field this week," he said.