No pressure on Titans Taylor at NRL Nines

Gold Coast coach Justin Holbrook views the NRL Nines as a good no-pressure way for halfback Ash Taylor to make his on-field return for the Titans.

ASHLEY TAYLOR
ASHLEY TAYLOR Picture: Matt Roberts/Getty Images

This weekend's NRL Nines in Perth is being viewed by Gold Coast coach Justin Holbrook as an ideal low-pressure way for Ash Taylor to make his on-field return for the Titans.

Taylor, named in Holbrook's 18-man squad for the pre-season tournament, will appear in a Titans jersey for the first time since August's 58-6 thrashing by the Sydney Roosters at the SCG.

The 24-year-old had a difficult 2019 as he dealt with off-field personal issues, with the Roosters loss his only NRL appearance after a mid-season leave of absence.

Taylor, however, has been impressing in pre-season, recently declaring he is physically and mentally ready for the 2020 campaign.

"Not too much pressure on him this weekend," Holbrook said.

"I've said a number of times over the last, probably, 14 weeks how well he is going at training and I'll obviously say it again. He's been fantastic for us and doing everything in a great manner.

"It'll be good to get him back out on the field and in a few more weeks to come when the competition starts is when we'll hopefully really see him playing well."

The Titans' squad includes several new faces with recruits Jonus Pearson, Jaimin Joliffe, Greg Leleisiuao and Erin Clark to make their first appearances for the club.

Meanwhile, Holbrook has admitted he doesn't know what the future holds for injured captain Ryan James.

The off-contract forward is set to undergo surgery next week to repair a torn ACL and is facing a second-consecutive season on the sidelines.

"In terms of the future, I'm not too sure," Holbrook said.

"He's in a much better spirit this week than he was last week which is good.

"It's another big setback for him, missing back-to-back seasons - not ideal and I'm not sure about 2021."


AAP