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Ash Taylor waits on Titans NRL halves call

NZ NewswireNZ Newswire 25/11/2016 Scott Bailey

Ash Taylor doesn't expect to know whether he'll be the starting halfback for Gold Coast, or who his partner might be, until after the club's final trial in February against the Warriors.

Last season's NRL rookie of the year is engaged in a battle with 2016 partner Tyrone Roberts and the returning Kane Elgey for the two halves' spots.

And while he is favoured to at least take out one of the positions, he is on limited duties due to an end-of-season groin operation.

"Once I get back on the field, I'm going to train the house down and try and get that No.7 jersey," he said.

In his first-grade debut at the club in 2016, Taylor helped guide the Titans to their first finals appearance since 2010.

He set up 16 tries and broke through 23 tackles, but didn't believe it would be enough to guarantee his position come round one.

Instead, he believes the selection could come down to the Titans' only scheduled trial with the Warriors on February 19, while a number of their big names are also expected to be on show at the Auckland Nines.

"It will just be combinations and how the team reacts to the halves," Taylor said.

"That will be the biggest thing - who reacts better.

"When the trials do come around, I'm going to have to play the house down and I'm sure the other boys will try to as well."

Coach Neil Henry has previously suggested Roberts could be used in a utility role, given hooker Nathan Friend's retirement at the end of last season.

It is a more-likely option, given Elgey and even Taylor admits they do not offer the same utility value.

However dummy-half Nathan Peats isn't willing to give up his minutes so easily, saying on Friday he wants to return to being an 80-minute hooker at the Titans.

"I believe I'm an 80-minute hooker," Peats said.

"But it comes down to how I train and how I perform to get that fitness up and what the coaching staff is thinking.

"I've got to back it up with my performance at training and hopefully go well at trials."

Peats was a regular 80-minute player at Parramatta in 2015 before the salary-cap dramas forced him out of the club midway through last season.

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