Forget Daly Cherry-Evans, forget Luke Skywalker, Gold Coast Titans fans were gifted 30 minutes of incredible new hope and excitement for the high’s their team can reach in season 2016 after watching young halfback Ash Taylor debut for the Broncos last night.
A prodigious talent with massive wraps from pundits ‘in the know’ Taylor’s joining of the Titans on a two-year deal went largely unheralded by the rugby league community south of the Tweed.
North of the border though Bronco fans were livid at the youngsters defection down the M1.
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But Titans fans were eerily quiet about the signing, at least the vast majority that had never watched the kid play.
They just didn’t know what they were getting, didn’t know why they ought to be as excited as the people in the know were telling them they should be.
Now they do.
In his debut game, in front of 44,000 screaming Broncos fans Taylor ran out onto the hallowed Suncorp turf and gave Titans fans hope.
Crisp passing, excellent work rate and a superb kicking game particularly his towering attacking bombs.
But it was his defensive work that really caught my eye.
The kid missed not one tackle – zero. He had Tohu Harris running at him for half an hour and not only did Taylor miss nothing, but he was up at marker every time before his opponent.
He never got dominated and held on koala-bear style like Scotty Prince used to on occasion.
He ripped in and hit hard.
A 19 year old kid. In front of 44,000 people. On debut.
As Titans fans were smiling like Cheshire cats up and down the Gold Coast Taylor’s night was cut sadly short as he suffered a suspected compound fracture and dislocated finger while making a tackle.
But Titans fans had seen enough.
Barring injury (or one of a myriad off-field indiscretions that Titans players love committing) Taylor will be first choice halfback in 2016.
He will partner gun half Kane Elgey.
Two exciting young halves, one left footed, one right, who are genuinely capable of combining to form a partnership that can drag the Titans out of the mire they have been in since their inception.
Think Foran/DCE at Manly – only better!
After 30 minutes I saw enough to be convinced that the dark days of mediocrity could finally be behind rugby league on the Gold Coast.
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