Titans No.7 can prove who’s No.1
FORMER Titans halfback Scott Prince believes Ash Taylor is the No.7 that can deliver the Gold Coast an NRL premiership.
Taylor will go toe-to-toe with Manly dynamo and Gold Coast's public enemy No.1 Daly Cherry-Evans in Gladstone on Sunday.
Cherry-Evans should have been wearing the Titans halfback jersey which now belongs to Taylor.
The Sea Eagles skipper signed a $4 million deal with the Titans in March, 2015, only to backflip three months later to stay at Manly on an eight-year contract.
To rub salt into the Gold Coast's wounds, Cherry-Evans' $10 million Manly deal was scrutinised during the NRL's salary cap investigation which saw the Sea Eagles sanctioned last week.
The former Queensland Origin star's decision to abandon the Titans was seen as a dagger to the Gold Coast's heart, however they snared one of the game's brightest young prospects in Taylor from the Broncos a few months later.
Prince, who helped the Titans to a preliminary final in 2010, said Taylor had the potential to guide the Gold Coast to its first NRL title.
"DCE could have come here and killed it but to have picked up Ash after missing out on DCE was a massive coup," he said.
"It's not like they went from Daly Cherry-Evans, who was a State of Origin player, to scraping the barrel with a second stringer.
"They picked up a good one. They are certainly on a winner.
"We all thought Ash would never leave the Broncos. The Broncos don't usually let quality players like Ash slip through their fingers too often.
"The Titans have got a great opportunity to build a team around him. It seems like he's got a really good relationship with the coach (Garth Brennan). I'd like to think Ash could (take the Titans to a grand final)."
Cherry-Evans, now 29, was lured to the Gold Coast on a four-year deal which would see him become the face of the club.
His signed contract was lodged with the NRL but meant little when he used the now extinct "Round 13 rule" to renege on the deal.
Cherry-Evans phoned former Titans coach Neil Henry early on June 3, 2015, to inform him of his decision to remain at Manly.
At the same time, Titans CEO Graham Annesley fielded a call from Cherry-Evans' manager, Chris Orr, as the club was attempting to rebuild from the cocaine scandal which nearly killed it.
"At the time we were very, very disappointed and felt let down," Annesley said.
"Even though his decision to stay at Manly was made within the NRL rules that applied at that time, we'd made a lot of decisions around recruitment and retention as a result of the signing of Daly.
"The day he told us he wasn't coming, we were already looking at what our next move was going to be.
"We couldn't be happier with Ash. He is potentially the best half in the game going forward and will be the backbone of the club for quite a few years to come.
"Every cloud has silver lining."
Taylor, now a 50-game NRL player, has committed to Titans until 2021 on a deal worth $3 million and was exceptional in the Gold Coast's upset win against Brisbane last Sunday.