Titan Taylor vows to play like 'JT'
A generation of basketball fans grew up wanting to 'Be Like Mike' but Titans half Ashley Taylor has vowed to 'Play like JT' so that his team doesn't suffer the same fate in Round 2 against the Knights that they did against the Roosters first up.
With the Roosters running rampant through the middle of the field on Saturday night the Titans had next to no answers, the visitors having eight more sets and running for 1,038 metres in the first 40 minutes compared to just 426 for Gold Coast.
Taylor's playmaking education was given a crash course in control during All Stars week when he and Johnathan Thurston spent the week rooming together and working together as halves partners for the Indigenous All Stars team.
Saturday night's 32-18 loss to the Roosters was the unveiling of the Taylor-Kane Elgey combination and Taylor told NRL.com he wants to be the one responsible for the direction of the team and put his lessons from Thurston into practice.
"I want to be the more dominant one and tell us where to go and where to get to and what play is which," Taylor said.
"I did learn off Thurston and that's what he does in a team and that's what you have to do to win premierships.
"He sits behind the ruck and tells them where to go and what to do and what play is coming up and all of that kind of stuff. I learnt a lot off him during the week and it's just beneficial for me and the Titans."
The 'Play like JT' tutorial not only took place on the field but extended to his preparation off the field.
In just his second year in the top grade the 21-year-old admitted his preparation away from the training field is an area that continues to need work but also promised to take a leaf out of Thurston's book in that regard.
"He has his certain routine of when he stretches, when he does this, when he gets strapped, when he puts his boots on," Taylor said.
"He's got a routine set and that's what I haven't got yet. I just sort of go with the flow and put my boots on whenever, get strapped whenever but if we have a certain routine and it's working and we're winning games that's the most important thing."
Guilty of failing to find touch from a penalty put further pressure on the Titans in the first half, Taylor's kicking game was a key component in the Titans clawing their way back to within 10 points after trailing by 28 at half-time.
A 40/20 kick should have led to a try from the next set when Taylor's grubber into the in-goal was fumbled by Chris McQueen over the try-line.
He provided the kick for Jarryd Hayne to leap high and score 17 minutes from full-time but said that there are plenty of areas for he and Elgey to improve on.
"Second half was a lot better than the first half," was Taylor's quick appraisal. "Didn't find touch on one of them and gave them a seven-tackle repeat set so on my behalf that's not good enough and that's not the standard I'm at at the moment.
"I tried everything I could to try and turn it around [in the first half] but when we did get the ball we were too tired to attack because obviously we did a lot of defending and they were doing a lot of set plays on us that we couldn't stop.
"Obviously we haven't had much game-time together and that's what to expect when we don't play many games together.
"We've just got to keep working at training and keep working on our combination."