Titans grant Ash Taylor personal leave
THE Titans have announced young halfback Ash Taylor will take some time out from the game to deal with personal issues.
It comes days after his refusal to take a match-winning penalty goal attempt during the Titans' loss to the Cowboys.
The former Broncos talent, who was signed to a bumper $1 million per season deal by the Titans last year, has failed to find his best form in 2019 - leading to public criticism from NRL immortal Andrew Johns that he should be dropped.
All the pressure appears to have taken a toll on the 24-year-old.
In a statement released on Thursday afternoon, the Gold Coast said Taylor had been granted indefinite leave from the game.
"In consultation with the club, Taylor, 24, has today been granted leave until further notice from his training and playing commitments," the club said.
"On behalf of Ashley and his family, we ask the media and the public to respect their privacy.
""No further comment will be made at this time by the Titans, Ashley, his management or his family."
Taylor has struggled with injuries so far this season, including a quadriceps injury during the preseason and a minor ACL strain in April.
The Daily Telegraph reported earlier on Thursday that Taylor was set to be dropped to reserve grade in round 14 if he failed to pull out of his form slump against the Broncos on Sunday.
The report claimed Gold Coast coach Garth Brennan had run out of patience with Taylor.
Brennan could not even explain why his highest-paid player refused to take the kick when the game was on the line against the Cowboys on Sunday.
"You'd have to ask Ash about that one," Brennan said.
"I'm not sure why he didn't take it. He might have an injury. He might lack confidence. He might not have been comfortable on that side of the field. I'm not sure.
"That question's going to have to be answered by Ash as to why he didn't take that shot."
Taylor's reluctance left Johns stumped in the Nine Network commentary box, with the ex-NSW and Australian halfback saying the scenario was one a confident goalkicker dreamed of.
The 24-year-old has been under pressure for his performance for several weeks, with critics including Parramatta great Peter Sterling unsure if Taylor is living up to his hefty contract at the struggling Titans.
One of the chief criticisms of Taylor's 2019 campaign has been a reluctance to take on a dominant role, with Roberts emerging as the key decision maker in their pairing.