NYC Alumni Setting the NRL Alight
By @JulianTFA – Sunshine Coast Stadium, Queensland
Interested observer at the 2016 Harvey Norman NYC is none other than potential NRL Rookie of the Year, and NYC Alumni, Ash Taylor of the Gold Coast Titans. Taylor was a popular face in the crowd, here to see the NYC and Alliance Cup action and particularly his younger sibling, Kiara Taylor, figuring prominently in the QSST girl’s team.
Fresh from recent post-season groin surgery and a break-out season, albeit now encumbered with crutches, Taylor was impressed with the standard and skills on display at Sunshine Coast Stadium ahead of his little sister’s quarter final appearance late in the day against the Central Queensland Bulls. “It’s great to be here and I’m feeling good after surgery,” he said. “I’m hoping to see the QSST guys and girls do well and here to support the little sis,” he added juggling his leg supports and autograph pen.
Proving to be a breeding ground and pathway to higher honours, witness the honour roll emerging from the NYC in recent years and yesteryear. Unlike Taylor, those figuring in the 2016 NRL Finals series commencing tonight, include a rising star in the NRL ranks set to make a stunning debut in tonight’s first NRL preliminary Final in Townsville.
Before progressing through the ranks of Holden Cup Under 20’s to the NRL big stage tonight, Kalyn Ponga is also a prodigious Touch Football talent; shining most recently for the Australian Under 18’s team in the 2015 Youth Trans-Tasman Series at Cronulla and a stand-out NYC star of some repute and reputation.
Joining him across the stripe tonight is Broncos’ Alex Glenn and in this year’s finals series including tomorrow night’s combatants Edrick Lee (QSST/Raiders) and Matt Moylan, Lewis Brown (NSWCCC/Panthers) and Melbourne Storm pivot, Blake Green (NSW CHS). Once you add into the mix Parramatta’s Bevan French (NSW CHS), Aiden Guerra (QSST/Roosters), Blake Green (NSW CHS), you not only have a serious looking NRL line-up but a dynamite starting six with four subs sure to shake any Touch Football combination.
And consider this roster straight from the NYC to NRL stardom of yester-year: Australian and Queensland legend, Darren Lockyer, Matt Bowen, Jamie Soward, Scott Dureau, PJ Marsh, Joe Williams.
Surely an exhibition match featuring those current NRL/Touch guns against the might of the crack Aussie men’s team beckons in the not too distant future?
For Taylor the NYC was great for his development as much as it was all about fun and frivolity with his mates.
“Yeah, it’s great up here watching the action,” he said. “Definitely, the Touch has been great for my play and helps with your skills and speed as you see with the other players,” he said.
Pressed on if he missed his Touch Football and did he still get to squeeze in a game when time affords: “I’d love to be playing more but can’t at the moment unfortunately (crutched in tow),” he added.
And if a match against the best Touch Football somehow emerged: “Well, we’ve all put on a bit of weight for the footy and those boys (Aussie) are unreal players, so I’m not sure how we’d go.
Would he and his NYC Alumni give it a crack and the Aussie lads a run for their money?
“We would probably start tackling ‘em I reckon,” he fired back with the trademark grin.