Titans halfback Ashley Taylor in action against the Broncos in Round 5 of the Telstra Premiership.

Taylor shrugs off shoulder concerns

Rookie Titans half Ashley Taylor has shrugged off concerns about a shoulder injury putting him in doubt for next Sunday's game against the Sharks and is confident halves partner Tyrone Roberts will be there alongside him.

Roberts was a notable absentee from the Titans' 24-16 loss to the Broncos at Cbus Super Stadium on Friday night with Greg Bird shifting in from lock to play five-eighth.

It left Taylor with the primary playmaking role in just his sixth NRL Telstra Premiership start and the 21-year-old former Bronco came in for plenty of attention from his ex-teammates.

The likes of Adam Blair, Sam Thaiday and Josh McGuire never missed an opportunity to put him on the ground after a kick and midway through the second half he copped a knock to his left shoulder that almost forced him from the field.

He battled on bravely to finish the game and although it is a shoulder he has had two reconstructions on previously, Taylor said after the game that he was hopeful there was no serious damage done on this occasion.

"I just went low and got a numb shoulder but it's pulled up all right, not as bad as what I thought it was," Taylor said in the Titans' sheds.

"We'll just see how it pulls up. Obviously shoulder injuries can put a cloud over you but I'm going to keep my head up high and try and move forward to next week and put myself in the best position to get myself right for next week."

When he made his NRL debut in Round 26 last season Taylor did so filling in for Ben Hunt and playing alongside Anthony Milford, the two Broncos halves he faced virtually single-handedly on Friday night.

He kicked for more metres (467) than both Milford and Hunt combined and laid on a nice try for David Mead in the first half with a deft kick in behind the Broncos' defensive line.

 

 

Gold Coast coach Neil Henry was non-committal on whether Taylor's injury was severe enough to prevent him from taking on the Sharks next week but praised his bravery against a very good opposition.

"The kick he put on when 'Meady' came through and scored the try, that was a nice touch," Henry said.

"He wasn't putting it into the in-goal, he was putting it in an awkward area where we've got a good chance of picking it up unless they're going to get down to the ball and Meady was good enough to get his head down there and score.

"He's going to the line and getting knocked over a few times when he's kicking – nothing illegal – but he's a brave kid and he'll take a tackle when he needs to take a tackle.

"That's all good for us and good for his future. I think he's showing that he's maturing quite quickly and he's had to and I'm very happy that he's been able to do it."

Taylor conceded that the responsibility of being the No.1 playmaker was harder in the heat of the battle than he had anticipated but hopes to use that experience to further develop his game in the coming weeks.

"It was tougher than I thought being out there," said Taylor.

"I thought at training it was all right but out on the field it was a different story. The pace is a lot faster and they rely on you a lot more.

"They target you when you're trying to kick the ball so that was challenging but I thought I did an all right job.

"Being the dominant half out there I had to talk a lot. I was calling the shots out there, they were feeding off me and I'm pretty sure they were struggling to hear me because the atmosphere out there was massive.

"I thought we did all right but our last play options weren't as good as what I wanted them to be. They were putting a lot of pressure on me and I didn't get myself in the right position because they were shooting hard at me so I've got to work on that next week, getting my positioning right and hopefully come up with the right option."