It was an absolute clanger, a dreadful mistake that would have made the Ash Taylor of old drop his head.
But instead of going into his shell after gifting West Tigers winger David Nofoaluma a 50m first-half intercept try, Taylor stepped up to inspire the Gold Coast’s first win since June 9 last year.
In a sign of just how far Taylor has come after a troubled 2019 season, the rejuvenated five-eighth proved the difference in the Titans’ shock 28-23 win on Sunday after overcoming his 12th-minute brain explosion.
“The old Ash Taylor would have got his head down, played the rest of the game and really wouldn’t have gotten involved,” Taylor said of his gaffe.
“I am still filthy on myself for putting the boys in a bad position but the boys really dug deep, and got the result.”
Keen to make amends, Taylor knew something special was needed to help the Titans bounce back after slumping to an early 12-0 deficit following Nofoaluma’s runaway try.
And he soon delivered, re-energising his team with a sublime 40-20 kick before captain Kevin Proctor crashed over in the 21st minute.
Suddenly the Titans – and Taylor – had their mojo back.
Taylor’s cross-field kick was gobbled up by flying winger Anthony Don to level at 12-all by halftime.
And his clever grubber was grounded by Brian Kelly when the Gold Coast levelled again in the 69th minute, this time for 22-all.
Yet Taylor looked to have made another costly error in the dying moments when he was caught out of position for a last-gasp field goal attempt.
Instead of panicking he kept it alive by swinging the ball left and moments later fullback Phillip Sami crashed over for the match-winner.
It capped a stunning comeback by Taylor who was limited to just 10 games last year as he battled mental health issues as the Titans’ million dollar marquee man.
Taylor said he was now relishing his new role at five-eighth this year after playing his entire NRL career at halfback, gelling with No.7 Jamal Fogarty.
But Taylor said he – and the Titans – were just getting started.
“I can’t rely on one game. It’s a stepping stone. It is something to work on and I will keep working hard,” he said.
“We don’t want to just leave it as one win.
“As a club we haven’t been very strong the last few years. We want to work hard on changing that…to give ourselves a chance of being at the business end of the year.”