Gold Coast Titans halfback Ash Taylor is ready to make his NRL return after leaving the league last season to focus on his mental health.
Taylor has had to live with the pressure of being a ‘million-dollar player’ since he extended his contract with the Titans on reportedly more than $1 million a season.
With the 2020 campaign almost here, the 24-year-old is ready to return to the pitch and hopefully emulate the form that saw him earn the Dally M Rookie of the Year award in 2016.
Taylor spoke to Fox Sports about the pressure of being a million-dollar player: “There’s always that price tag that gets thrown around.
“The million-dollar player, it’s been reported about a lot but it’s not true.
“There are a lot of statements that have been put out there, like I’m on a million dollars a season but that’s not true.
“It’s kind of hard to play up to that expectation and it’s always hard when people think you’re on that kind of money. But I’ve lived it.
“I don’t know how those blokes actually do it like Cameron Smith and Johnathan Thurston trying to live up to that price tag.”
Taylor spoke about his 2019 season and his hiatus from the league: “Life’s not about always staying up – there’s always going to be downs.
“I had a lot of challenges last year but was lucky enough to have some great support.
“I’m still going through the process today, trying to get back on the paddock and trying to get my footy back to where it was a few years ago.”
The Titans halfback was expected to be a superstar in the game but in 2018, he wasn’t able to reach the same standard that he produced in his first two seasons in the NRL.
After struggling with the criticism that followed, he is now keen to take the field again in 2020 and will be hoping to find his feet in the NRL again under Justin Holbrook.