Hard-hit star Titan admits he needs to smarten up
GOLD Coast halfback Ash Taylor has challenged himself to be smarter and more resilient as he is increasingly targeted by opposition defences.
Not for the first time this season, Taylor was forced from the field in Penrith last Sunday for a head injury assessment - after a big hit from Panthers forward Viliame Kikau.
Taylor feels he is copping more and more heavy treatment as he establishes himself as the marquee man for the Titans.
"Yeah I think that's been happening a lot more,” he said.
"But in saying that, some of the best like JT (Cowboys great Johnathan Thurston) have been taken out and he has come out the other side.
"I just need to learn to play what's in front of me and just use a lot more options than obviously what I have been doing the last few weeks.”
The 23-year-old and his idol Thurston go head-to-head tonight.
Earlier this year, Gold Coast football manager Anthony Laffranchi revealed how JT had helped Taylor's career progression.
"Last year he actually roomed with Thursto in the All Star game,” Laffranchi said at the Rugby League Gold Coast season launch.
"Just seeing how the elite prepare, I think it opened Ash's eyes up a bit.
"He didn't realise Thursto stretched for 45 minutes every night instead of just sitting on the couch playing Xbox. Just all these little things that were probably unknown to a young kid.”
Those lessons will bode well for the leadership prospects of Taylor, who has been dubbed a future Titans captain by coach Garth Brennan.
"There is a lot more expectations on that role so hopefully in years to come I do get that role,” Taylor responded to the idea of one day taking the reins.
The Titans, who have started the year with a 3-3 record, must be wary of the Cowboys emerging from their slump, he added.