One player who’ll have more to gain than most from the Vodafone Warriors’ opening NRL trial tomorrow is former Gold Coast play maker Ash Taylor.
For the 26-year-old the preseason has been like starting all over again.
He’d gone from one of the game’s highest paid players at the Titans to nothing more than a train and trial contract with the Vodafone Warriors.
And so far, so good. He hit all the marks set in the preseason to earn a fulltime deal but now the real work begins for the 115-game veteran as he sets out on his mission to crack a spot in the Vodafone Warriors’ NRL line-up.
Taylor has relished being challenged.
“It's been a different experience coming from always being top 30 to a train and trial contract,” he said.
“It's been tough at times but I just had to put my head down. I wanted to work hard and I got rewarded with a contract so it's been awesome so far.”
The next major step is having the chance to lead the Vodafone Warriors around in Saturday’s first-up trial against the Storm at Clancy Fields in Melbourne (4.00pm kick-off local time; 6.00pm NZT). He’s in line to start at halfback paired with Kodi Nikorima.
With the returning Shaun Johnson not being used this weekend, Taylor, Nikorima and Chanel Harris-Tavita will all be pushing their claims.
“Obviously it's a new environment, new team and new structure so I'm learning all that stuff,” said Taylor.
“It’s been difficult at times but I'm learning and hopefully I'll be taking that into the trials. Obviously I haven't cemented a spot so I've got to trial well, get our combinations working and hopefully get a round one jersey.”
Taylor is also hoping to line up against his old Gold Coast side in the Vodafone Warriors’ final trial at Moreton Daily Stadium on Saturday, February 26 (2.00pm kick-off local time; 5.00pm NZT).
“The Titans are a team on the up. They’re a young team and it'll be an awesome trial but my heart's here now so we boys here at the Warriors have to put our best foot forward and hopefully start the year well.
“The field's look great (at Moreton Daily Stadium) and Redcliffe has a great facility here.”
That’s to come. Right now Taylor’s focus is on making his minutes on the field count against the Storm tomorrow.
- Buy tickets here for Vodafone Warriors v Gold Coast, Moreton Daily Stadium, Saturday, February 26 (2.00pm kick-off)