The weight of expectation and growing criticism of his on-field performances are believed to be behind Ash Taylor’s decision to request leave from playing and training commitments from the Titans.
Taylor appeared in good spirits at training on Wednesday morning as the Gold Coast team prepared for Sunday’s clash with his former club the Broncos, but he consulted with club officials to request leave to address personal issues, leave that was granted.
"On behalf of Ashley and his family, we ask the media and the public to respect their privacy," the Titans said in a statement.
"No further comment will be made at this time by the Titans, Ashley, his management or his family."
Signed to a lucrative long-term deal at the end of the 2017 season, the 24-year-old has battled injury and confidence since kicking off his 2019 campaign in round four.
Each week his performances have been closely scrutinised, none more so than last Sunday when he declined to take a shot at penalty goal that could have brought the Titans level with the Cowboys six minutes from full-time.
That decision was the subject of widespread debate early in the week and contributed to the external pressure building on the 2016 Dally M rookie of the year.
NRL.com also understands Taylor is active on social media and regularly reads the positive and negative comments made about him on the various channels.
Club officials remain confident Taylor’s leave of absence will not be long term with former Storm half Ryley Jacks expected to come into the team to face Brisbane at Suncorp Stadium on Sunday.