Titans halfback Ashley Taylor in action against the Raiders in Round 4 of the Telstra Premiership.

Quick-thinking rookie saves Titans embarrassment

The man at the centre of the Titans' interchange bungle in the second half against the Raiders on Saturday has praised the quick-thinking of rookie Ashley Taylor for potentially preventing two hard-earned competition points being stripped.

Now with three wins from their opening four games of the season, the Titans showed great courage to fight back from 20-6 down to defeat Canberra 24-20 but had an anxious wait after it was discovered they had 14 players on the field for a brief moment following a knee injury to Tyrone Roberts.

Prop David Shillington was the man who ran on thinking Roberts had left the playing field in the 55th minute only for Taylor and back-rower Zeb Taia to alert him to the fact that he was still in the defensive line.

"It might have been a really sad story here today if Zeb and Ash hadn't been so alert and told me to get off quickly," said Shillington after the Titans were issued with a $5,000 fine for the interchange breach.

"I might have played that defensive play and they might have stripped two points off us, who knows.

"The thing with interchange officials on the sideline is that they don't take the card off you until the player has gone off the field. I wasn't even watching Tyrone go off, I just held the card there and waited for him to take it then I ran on and that's how it played out.

"I got on the field and scrambled into the defensive line and just as they played the ball to play on Ash Taylor and Zeb Taia screamed at me to get off and said Tyrone was still on.

"I didn't even look; I just turned to the dead-ball line and ran off as quick as I could.

"I'm very thankful for them being so aware."

 

Playing against his former club, Shillington delivered an inspirational charge for a try in the 65th minute that helped to spark the Titans into action.

The only time the 32-year-old has scored a try in the past four seasons was the double he got against the Sharks in Round 26, 2013 and said the motivation for his big charge to the try-line from a quick tap was a simple one.

"I was pretty excited about my try; I rang everyone in my phone book just to let them know I scored, just in case they hadn't seen it," Shillington joked.

"They stripped the ball from me and I was just a bit dirty about that and I thought I'd just tap it and run. I was fired up a little bit; I should do that more often for sure."

It was the second week in succession that the Titans had fought back from a double digit deficit to record a victory and Shillington said that it was a testament to the character of the side that they are able to hang in when momentum is going against them.

"The most pleasing thing about these wins is the way the boys stick in in the tough times," he said.

"They stick together and the resilience they showed to hang in there and fight back even when they're down, that's the most impressive thing.

"I remember thinking just before we scored that try to win the game that we'd done well just to hang in there and fight back and showed a lot of character, even if we weren't going to win.

"We didn't win that Melbourne game but we've never let teams just run away with it, we've never laid down."