Ash Taylor has been dropped by the Titans.
Ash Taylor has been dropped by the Titans.

Coach baffled by $1m star’s no-show

UNDERFIRE Titans coach Garth Brennan says he has no idea why the club's million-dollar star and goal kicker Ash Taylor did not take a penalty goal which could have levelled the scores in Sunday's 6-4 loss to the Cowboys.

Taylor missed his first half conversion and then shanked a penalty goal to the left of the posts.

With minutes to go in the game, the Gold Coast had another penalty and another opportunity to draw level.

But this time Taylor was nowhere to be seen, with fellow half Tyrone Roberts stepping up to take the kick. He missed and the Cowboys held on for the win.

The switch left Brennan scratching his head.

"You'd have to ask Ash about that one. I'm not sure why he didn't take it," said Brennan whose side have just three wins from their opening 11 games.

When pressed on the kicking question, the Titans coach again devolved responsibility to the halfback.

"You will have to ask Ash on that one," he added. "I'm not sure why he didn't take it. He might have an injury, he might've been down on confidence, he might not have been comfortable on that side of the field.

"That question is going to have to be asked as to why he didn't take that shot."

Despite the misses the Titans almost snatched the game late but for an incredible try-saving tackle from Cowboys winger Kyle Feldt's which typified his team's resilience.

Kyle Feldt pulls off an incredible try-saver to deny Brian Kelly.
Kyle Feldt pulls off an incredible try-saver to deny Brian Kelly.

Former NRL player Mark Riddell is amongthose who have called for Taylor "to be dropped".

"Garth Brennan has cuddled him all season to get the best out of him but listening to his press conference last night, I think he might have had enough," Riddell said.

"They had so much football in the second half and they should have won that game. They created the opportunities but they just couldn't ice it.

"If you're a goal kicker and you want to put your hand up as a goal kicker, you put your hand up for those big occasions because that's what you dream of.

"I found it really weird that Ash Taylor didn't take the kick - if you're the kicker, you go out there and do your best."

Down to just two fit players on the bench and with the siren about to sound, the Cowboys' brave resistance appeared to be for nought as Brian Kelly closed in on the tryline.

From nowhere, Feldt flew across and bundled Kelly into touch - securing the Cowboys' their third-straight victory and one that clearly meant plenty to coach Paul Green.

How did we lose that one?
How did we lose that one?

"That was one of the toughest wins I've ever been involved in as a player or a coach," Green said.

"That was just enormous the effort that was shown out there tonight to get the result."

With State of Origin pair Josh McGuire and Michael Morgan unavailable and Matt Scott and Justin O'Neill injured, the Cowboys had already headed south with a patched-up team.

By half-time on Sunday at Cbus Super Stadium, they were trailing 4-0 after Dale Copley's ninth try of the season, while Gideon Gela-Mosby (broken collarbone) and Corey Jensen (concussion) were already out of the game.

Despite those obstacles, the Cowboys held the Titans scoreless in the second half, meaning Jason Taumalolo's burrowing try in which he wrestled free from AJ Brimson to plant the ball down was enough to secure the win.

Green said the win displayed a character he thought his team had lost earlier this season during a four-match winless run.

"There was a couple of losses there that worried me, in particular how we defended, but I thought the last six weeks we've shown a lot better resolve in defence," Green said.

"The form that we've shown in that period has been built off the back of that defence." While the Cowboys celebrated, it was a hollow feeling at fulltime for the Titans.

Against a tiring opponent, the Titans opted twice to take penalty goal shots in favour of pushing for a try, missing both.

Jason Taumalolo scored a controversial. match-winning try.
Jason Taumalolo scored a controversial. match-winning try.

Despite that, the Titans thought they had the match won when Tyrone Peachey's grubber and regather broke the resolute Cowboys' defensive line and found Kelly wide open on the left wing.

That was before Feldt's dramatic intervention.

"We kept coming at them. We just couldn't finally get that knockout blow, unfortunately," Brennan said.

"We had some opportunities and we just couldn't nail it. We'll learn from that." The defeat leaves the Titans second last on the competition ladder with six points, while North Queensland join four other teams around the top eight with 12 points.

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