Gold Coast coach Craig Hodges admits in hindsight Ash Taylor wasn’t physically ready to make his NRL return against Sydney Roosters last week.
Taylor has been withdrawn from the Titans’ team to face St George Illawarra on Saturday after returning from a two-month break from first grade in the 58-6 belting by the Roosters.
Hodges says the club had probably made the wrong call bringing Taylor back to face the Roosters at the SCG.
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He said returning to training and building up his match fitness in the Queensland Cup was the best approach going forward for the 24-year-old.
“Ash is really keen to play and really excited to get back and try and help his mates but he’s just not quite ready yet,” Hodges said.
“It’s unfair to put him out there when he’s physically not ready.”
Taylor hadn’t played for the Titans since a 6-4 loss to North Queensland in early June after which he was granted indefinite leave to deal with personal issues.
Hodges said the decision to omit Taylor from the Dragons clash wasn’t a mental health issue, purely a football decision.
It’s expected Taylor will return to Queensland Cup action for Tweed Heads this Saturday against the Ipswich Jets.
With just five matches remaining in the NRL season, Hodges wasn’t sure if Taylor would appear again for the Titans in 2019.
“He just needs a little bit more work. If that happens quickly then he’ll play quickly. If it takes a while then it’ll take a while,” he said.
“There’s no set time frame and there’s nothing sinister behind it, it’s just that we need to hold him back from himself a little bit at the moment until he is right.”
© AAP 2019