While he has been with the Vodafone Warriors only six months, just-retired Ash Taylor has been overwhelmed by the club’s culture.
In announcing his injury-enforced retirement yesterday, the 27-year-old singled out his third NRL club for special mention.
He said he couldn’t “thank the Warriors enough for the way they have handled my situation” and that “they have had me and my family’s interests at heart.”
What he has been struck by most in his short time with the club has been the connection and culture he has experienced.
“With the culture they talk about at the Warriors it’s like brotherhood,” said Taylor.
“They embrace their culture a lot here and, once you’re a part of it, it’s hard to leave.
“That’s why it was so emotional for me getting up in front of the boys this morning because I haven’t been part of a club that’s as culturally connected. Within that there’s all different cultures as well.
“To be able to learn more about the Māori culture has been awesome and to be a part of this great club has meant a lot to me and my family.
“I know going forward if I need anything I can reach out to this club especially and ask for advice. I know they’ll respect me for who I am and respect me as a person.”
Taylor has always been passionate about his Australian indigenous culture and will have an even stronger focus on it in his retirement.
“I’ve still been a part of the indigenous space in Toowoomba while I’ve been here, doing part-time work there with the indigenous team in the Darling Downs area trying to promote the Covid vaccination at the time and at the moment the ‘flu vaccine,” he said.
“Any programmes they have coming up I want to be a part of, to be a part of the community and to be a trusted source to anyone in the community if they need to seek help about anything.
“It might be alcohol, drugs, domestic violence or anything but I want to be a helping hand to the community and to be known to be a safe person who’s going to get the right help for someone to help them become a better person.”