Gold Coast Titans star Ash Taylor has revealed just how close he came to completely giving up on the NRL during his tumultuous 2019 season, in which he did take an extended break away from the sport.
The star halfback had often been made the scapegoat for the Titans’ woes on the field in recent times, leading to his breaking point in May last year when he announced he would be taking time away to focus on his mental health.
Speaking to NRL.com, Taylor admits it wasn’t until those close to him asked if he was really okay did he realise the extent of his struggles.
ARTICLE CONTINUES AFTER THIS ADVERTISEMENT
“My partner and my family and my manager were all concerned for me because they thought something was really wrong. It wasn’t until [they] actually asked me that I knew something was wrong,” Taylor told NRL.com.
“I really had to take a step back and really assess what was going on in my life.
“I took a few days to go back home and refresh and connect to my land again and speak to some of my family and speak to specialists to get back on the right track again.”
The 24-year-old admitted the constant criticism and pressure put on top of him as the club’s million-dollar man all got too much for him.
“There seems to be a lot of person attacks,” Taylor said.
“Criticise us for the game.. but don’t start getting personal.. attacking our families.. it’s not the right thing to do.”
Taylor said the negativity had him ready to walk away from his entire career.
“I was pretty content on leaving the NRL just to go back and play park footy. I was under so much pressure,” he said.
“I wouldn’t probably be in the rugby league community if I didn’t take that step away. It was better for me to take a bit of time away to find myself again and find my love of footy again.”
And it appears has had found that love of football again, confirming his mind is “refreshed” and his body is “ready to go” ahead of the 2020 season, which the Titans will enter under the guidance of new head coach, Justin Holbrook.
“I’m going to make mistakes.. everyone makes mistakes.. but i’m going to try and narrow in on them this year.
“I’m stoked to be back here, stoked to be around the boys again. It’s a great vibe around the club.
“We’re going to give it a good crack this year and really work hard and hopefully repay all those fans and supporters that stuck with us during that time last year and hopefully finish up a bit more on that ladder.
He also had an imporant message to pass on, particurlarly to the men of the community, to reach out and seek help if you need it.
“I’m a lot stronger. I think the biggest thing is that with men we don’t want to talk about our feelings but it’s so important that we do.
“If you don’t feel right go and speak to someone, speak to a mate, speak to a loved one just to steer you back on the right track.”
If you are in immediate danger call 000 now. If you require advice or assistance, the following services can offer counselling and support:
Lifeline 13 11 14 | visit website
Beyond Blue 1300 22 4636 | visit website
Kids Helpline 1800 55 1800 | visit website
MensLine Australia 1300 789 978 | visit website