Infotainment Factory: Lockyer's huge wake-up call for $1m flop

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Tuesday, 21 May 2019

Lockyer's huge wake-up call for $1m flop


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Ash Taylor is clearly failing to provide value for money on his $1 million per season Titans contract, NRL legend Darren Lockyer says.

Taylor is in the second season of a four-year deal on seven figures and at age 24, should be hitting his prime. Yet the halfback's form remains patchy and Gold Coast sits at the bottom of the NRL with a dismal 2-8 record this season.

Lockyer told Wide World of Sports that wins were the bottom line for a highly-paid star and that Taylor was not living up to his price tag; likely due to an inadequate work ethic.

"Not at this stage, obviously, because if you're paying a player a million bucks, you want him winning games for you," Lockyer said on QLDER.

"My view is if you pay someone a million bucks, you need to know they've got talent, which he's got. But it needs to come with the work ethic, where you know he's going to turn up every week.

"That, I question right now. But that's up to Ash, if he can find it."

Rugby league Immortal Wally Lewis said that Taylor was not playing with the confidence that should be inherent with a $1 million per season star. He questioned whether Taylor was burdened with a mega-contract too soon - something that Wide World of Sports explored at length on Tuesday.

"He's got to display the confidence that's on board. Anybody that's a million dollar a season player certainly has plenty of that and are able to lead and take control of the game plan," Lewis said on QLDER.

"A million bucks a season certainly does place him under a fair bit of pressure. Was it too soon? Well, I don't think any of us would have rejected that money; I would've volunteered to take the cabbage.

"But realistically, I think he's just got to take a look at his own game and make it a little more comforting and a little easier to put into place."

Lockyer recalled how Taylor, who was poached by the Titans from Brisbane, came to be re-signed for such big money.

"I remember when they signed Ash, it was on the back of when the Broncos lost Ben Hunt," Lockyer said.

"Ben Hunt went to the Dragons on a big deal, a deal that just exploded the market. So the Broncos were looking for another seven and the Titans were pretty keen to retain Ash's services, because he is a talented player.

"Just the work ethic, week-in, week-out, is where he needs to get better."

Lockyer said the Titans were missing powerful forward Ryan James (ACL) and were also being hampered by other absences, but it was up to Taylor to lead them out of their slump.

"Obviously Ash Taylor is the highest-paid and he's the guy that controls the same, but no Michael Gordon there, so they've lost a bit of experience," Lockyer said.

"If you go through all their players in the backline ... Tyrone Roberts is probably the most [experienced], and you've got [Anthony] Don on the wing. But for me, Ash Taylor's got to lead the backline.

"Then in the forward pack, Shannon Boyd's injured, but it's an opportunity for Jarrod Wallace to step up and show his leadership credentials, because they are missing Ryan James.

"The other guy's Jai Arrow. He's a great player and gives everything week-in, week-out. He's got leadership credentials in my eyes as well."

The Titans' poor form has put second-year coach Garth Brennan under serious pressure to keep his job, Lockyer said.

"He's not going to cop the blame solely but at the end of the day, it's a result-driven business," Lockyer said.

"We've seen in the past, if you haven't got premierships to your name, it doesn't take long before the drums start beating. With every loss, regardless of injuries, regardless of poor luck, with every loss the pressure just gets more and more amplified."

Garth-Brennan

With the buzz around Taylor's inflated salary, Lewis recalled how much money he once signed-on for in Brisbane, having joined the club as a foundation player in 1988.

"I can still remember it: it was $135,000," Lewis said.

"To be honest, I thought I was the richest bloke in the world. It was the first big contract that we'd had.

"There'd been offers to go elsewhere. Geno (Gene Miles) and myself went and had a little bit of a talk to Kerry Packer about heading down to Manly.

"But the opportunity to play for the Broncos, to stay at home in our own residence, our family didn't have to move ... it was a real thrill. And, to be able to play in the best rugby league competition in the world."

Ash Taylor is clearly failing to provide value for money on his $1 million per season Titans contract, NRL legend Darren Lockyer says.

Taylor is in the second season of a four-year deal on seven figures and at age 24, should be hitting his prime. Yet the halfback's form remains patchy and Gold Coast sits at the bottom of the NRL with a dismal 2-8 record this season.

Lockyer told Wide World of Sports that wins were the bottom line for a highly-paid star and that Taylor was not living up to his price tag; likely due to an inadequate work ethic.

"Not at this stage, obviously, because if you're paying a player a million bucks, you want him winning games for you," Lockyer said on QLDER.

"My view is if you pay someone a million bucks, you need to know they've got talent, which he's got. But it needs to come with the work ethic, where you know he's going to turn up every week.

"That, I question right now. But that's up to Ash, if he can find it."

Rugby league Immortal Wally Lewis said that Taylor was not playing with the confidence that should be inherent with a $1 million per season star. He questioned whether Taylor was burdened with a mega-contract too soon - something that Wide World of Sports explored at length on Tuesday.

"He's got to display the confidence that's on board. Anybody that's a million dollar a season player certainly has plenty of that and are able to lead and take control of the game plan," Lewis said on QLDER.

"A million bucks a season certainly does place him under a fair bit of pressure. Was it too soon? Well, I don't think any of us would have rejected that money; I would've volunteered to take the cabbage.

"But realistically, I think he's just got to take a look at his own game and make it a little more comforting and a little easier to put into place."

Lockyer recalled how Taylor, who was poached by the Titans from Brisbane, came to be re-signed for such big money.

"I remember when they signed Ash, it was on the back of when the Broncos lost Ben Hunt," Lockyer said.

"Ben Hunt went to the Dragons on a big deal, a deal that just exploded the market. So the Broncos were looking for another seven and the Titans were pretty keen to retain Ash's services, because he is a talented player.

"Just the work ethic, week-in, week-out, is where he needs to get better."

Lockyer said the Titans were missing powerful forward Ryan James (ACL) and were also being hampered by other absences, but it was up to Taylor to lead them out of their slump.

"Obviously Ash Taylor is the highest-paid and he's the guy that controls the same, but no Michael Gordon there, so they've lost a bit of experience," Lockyer said.

"If you go through all their players in the backline ... Tyrone Roberts is probably the most [experienced], and you've got [Anthony] Don on the wing. But for me, Ash Taylor's got to lead the backline.

"Then in the forward pack, Shannon Boyd's injured, but it's an opportunity for Jarrod Wallace to step up and show his leadership credentials, because they are missing Ryan James.

"The other guy's Jai Arrow. He's a great player and gives everything week-in, week-out. He's got leadership credentials in my eyes as well."

The Titans' poor form has put second-year coach Garth Brennan under serious pressure to keep his job, Lockyer said.

"He's not going to cop the blame solely but at the end of the day, it's a result-driven business," Lockyer said.

"We've seen in the past, if you haven't got premierships to your name, it doesn't take long before the drums start beating. With every loss, regardless of injuries, regardless of poor luck, with every loss the pressure just gets more and more amplified."

Garth-Brennan

With the buzz around Taylor's inflated salary, Lewis recalled how much money he once signed-on for in Brisbane, having joined the club as a foundation player in 1988.

"I can still remember it: it was $135,000," Lewis said.

"To be honest, I thought I was the richest bloke in the world. It was the first big contract that we'd had.

"There'd been offers to go elsewhere. Geno (Gene Miles) and myself went and had a little bit of a talk to Kerry Packer about heading down to Manly.

"But the opportunity to play for the Broncos, to stay at home in our own residence, our family didn't have to move ... it was a real thrill. And, to be able to play in the best rugby league competition in the world."

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